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Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Advances To Second Round

For the second straight season, the University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating No. 18 Dartmouth, 16-13, on Friday at Newton Campus Field.

“Dartmouth (11-6) is a tough team and is very well coached,” head coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. “I thought it was a battle for 60 minutes. The first half went a little more back-and-forth. In the second half, we struggled a lot on the draw and to gain possession, so we were struggling at times and let in a few goals defensively.

“I thought we were able to lock it down a little bit better (later in the half) defensively and then we were able to capitalize on offense, which was huge. So for the amount of possessions we gave up just by losing the draws, I was really proud of our team for continuing to believe and battle.”

The 21st-ranked Buffs (11-7) were led by Samantha Nemirov’s five goals. Five other Colorado Women’s Lacrosse players scored 11 goals in the victory.

“Offensively we did a great job of capitalizing on everybody being a threat,” Whidden said. “I thought we were a little slow at the start, but when Miranda got hurt, I thought some people stepped up and did a really good job of making plays. And when she was back in there, I though she did a good job down the stretch of finding her opportunities and putting them away. Overall, I think offensively they did a great job as a team.”

In goal, Julia Lisella put on a strong performance, recording 15 saves, which is the third most in a single game for the Buff. CU also caused six opponent turnvers.

“Julia did a great job of standing tall in there and making stops when we needed stops,” said Whidden. “I thought our defense did a good job of trying to collapse on the ball and force some shots in under pressure, which was great.”

WHAT HAPPENED: The contest was very back and forth to start. Dartmouth got on the board first just under five minutes into the game. The two teams exchanged the next four goals with Miranda Stinson and Nemirov scoring for the Buffs.

Colorado Women’s Lacrosse was down 3-2 when Sophie Castillo recorded her first marker of the game at 17:22. Then at 14:49, Sadie Grozier tallied a goal to give the Buffs their first lead of the game. Castillo added her second goal of the game three minutes later on a man-up opportunity, which gave CU a two-goal advantage (4-2).

The Big Green put a stop to CU’s 3-0 run with just over 10 minutes to play, cutting CU’s led to one (5-4). The Buffs would score two of the next three goals; both from Nemirov (7-5), but Dartmouth would score the final two of the half to even the game.

Chloe Willard struck first in the second frame, putting CU up 8-7, but after Willard’s goal, the momentum swung to the Big Green, which were able to score four of the next five goals in the following eight minutes to take an 11-9 advantage with 21:35 left in the game.

Colorado Women’s Lacrosse was able to cut Dartmouth’s lead to one when Nemirov tallied her fifth goal of the game at 19:12, but the Big Green answered with a goal at 18:10 to regain its two-goal lead (12-10). CU scored again at 16:16 when Charlie Rudy found the back of the net for the first time of the afternoon. The Buffs were able to even the game at a minute later with Grozier’s second marker of the contest (12-12).

The tie did not last long as Dartmouth pulled back ahead, scoring at 14:16. But CU was able to respond with a pair of goals from Stinson to regain the lead (14-13) with 7:00 left to play. Stinson added another with 4:55 left to give CU a two-point advantage.

The Buffs continued to pull away, as Grozier scored her 35th of the season with 2:06 remaining. Colorado was able to hold on to the three-point lead and earned the right to play top-ranked and No. 2 seed Boston College in the second round on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT/1 p.m. ET.

“We are excited about this opportunity,” Whidden said. “We know we are playing one of the best teams in the country and at the end of the day we have to do a better job of evening out the possessions. We know they are great on the draw; they have one of the best players in the country that is taking the draw. So for us, we have to give ourselves a few more possessions.”

KEY STATISTICS: The Big Green led in draw controls, 25-6, but the Buffs lead in shots, 41-31. Ground balls were even (16-16) and the Buffs were able to convert on two of three man-up opportunities, while DC scored on its only opportunity.

NOTABLE:

  • Samantha Nemirov extended her school record point scoring-streak to 38 games
  • This was the first meeting between Dartmouth and the Buffs
  • CU is now 2-2 in NCAA Tournament games

TEAM LEADERS:

Colorado
Points: 20
Goals: 16
Assists: 4
Draw Controls: 6
Ground Balls: 16
Saves: 15
Dartmouth
Points: 22
Goals: 13
Assists: 9
Draw Controls: 25
Ground Balls: 16
Saves: 7

QUOTEABLE:

Colorado Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Ann Elliott Whidden

General Statement

Dartmouth is a tough team and is very well coached. I thought it was a battle for 60 minutes. The first half went a little more back-and-forth. The second half we struggled a lot on the draw and to gain possession, so we were struggling at times and let in a few goals defensively. I thought we were able to lock it down a little bit better defensively and then we were able to capitalize on offense, which was huge. So for the amount of possessions we gave up just by losing the draws, I was really proud of our team for continuing to believe and battle.

Play of Julia Lisella

Julia did a great job of standing tall in there and making stops when we needed stops. I thought our defense did a good job of trying to collapse on the ball and force some shots in under pressure, which was great. We know we have to do a better job on Sunday all around to be successful.

Talk about Miranda Stinson

Offensively we did a great job of capitalizing on everybody being a threat. I thought we were a little slow at the start, but when Miranda got hurt, I thought some people stepped up and did a really good job of making plays. And when she was back in there, I though she did a good job down the stretch of finding her opportunities and putting them away. Overall, I think offensively they did a great job as a team.

What are the takeaways for Sunday’s game against No. 1 Boston College

We are excited about this opportunity. We know we are playing one of the best teams in the country and at the end of the day we have to do a better job of evening out the possessions. We know they are great on the draw; they have one of the best players in the country that is taking the draw. So for us, we have to give ourselves a few more possessions. That will really be helpful.

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