Three years ago, a group of 21 freshmen and two sophomores embarked on the first season of NCAA women’s lacrosse at Colorado. The young Buffs finished 11-8 in 2014.
Fast-forward to 2017, when the group of women that comprised coach Ann Elliott’s first CU recruiting class emerged as a force.
The Buffs finished the 2017 regular season with 15 wins, 2 losses and went undefeated (8-0) in Boulder. The season included CU's first appearance in the MPSF Tournament title game (a 16-11 loss to USC) and the Buffs' first-ever NCAA Tournament berth.
CU started the season with an 11-10 overtime victory over No. 9 Northwestern, Elliott’s alma mater. By early March,the Buffs surged into the top five nationally (No. 4) for the first time after an upset, on-the-road win over Penn State, then No. 6 and unbeaten. On April 7, the team wrapped up its home slate without a loss by beating Stanford for the first time — on Senior Day. The Buffs capped the regular season with three consecutive road wins at San Diego State, Saint Mary’s and Cal, scoring a school record 24 goals against Saint Mary’s.
There were 10 regular-season games in which the Buffs held the lead from the first goal onward. CU scored 18 or more goals eight times.
Junior Darby Kiernan (IntlAf’18) led the way during the regular season with 48 goals and 20 assists. Senior Johnna Fusco (Comm’17) was next on the team with 43 goals and nine assists, while senior goalie Paige Soenksen (Chin, IntlAf’17) was 14-2 in 16 games played and made 127 season saves.
The Buffs’ two regular-season losses came at Stony Brook (ranked No. 5/6 at the time) and at Southern Cal (then No. 9).
Photo courtesy CU Athletics