Although Denver prevailed 13-6, Colorado showed promise before a crowd of approximately 250 fans at Denver’s Peter Barton Stadium.
On a night of unofficial “firsts”, the first goal in University of Colorado lacrosse history was scored by Sarah Lautman, a player who was added to the roster just nine days ago.
While coach Ann Elliott and her staff have been recruiting players since April 2012 in anticipation of the Buffaloes inaugural season, Lautman has been trying to transform herself from a club player to a Division I player. The only “club” player on the 23-player roster, Lautman scored on a free position shot, aiming top right against University of Denver keeper Hannah Hook.
Her goal set off a spirited celebration among the Buffs, who were trailing 4-0 amid growing concern that they couldn’t compete against the established Pioneers, who started playing lacrosse in 1999.
“I was nervous for a couple of minutes, and then we scored and you realize you’re going to be all right,” said Colorado goalie Paige Soenksen. “We realized, we can compete; we can hang with them.”
“This was a great test of our ability to focus and to play hard,” said Elliott, a former Northwestern assistant and All-American player for the Wildcats, who is assisted by former Northwestern stars Hannah Nielsen and Colleen Magarity.
“We’ve been waiting to play for a long time,” Elliot said. “And a lot of the kids have been waiting for a long time too. It was great to kick off Colorado lacrosse. Fortunately, we have Denver just down the road. Denver is a great team.”
The Pioneers lost four key players off an 18-3 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last spring after sweeping the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with an 8-0 mark.