Aggies Stampeded by Buffs in MPSF Action

DAVIS, Calif. With strong performances across the board, the University of Colorado eased to its third Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win of the inaugural season, taking down UC Davis 14-5 at Aggie Stadium.

The conference opponents were relatively well matched entering the game. The Buffaloes (6-5 overall, 3-1 MPSF) just edge the Aggies (6-5, 1-3) in points and shots per game, areas where CU truly shined on Saturday. Colorado outshot UC Davis 33 to 23, including 20 to 13 in the second half. The Buffs also matched a season-low nine turnovers.

The Aggies did grab the upper-hand in ground balls (13 to 11) and draw controls (11 to nine, and five to two in the first half), which helped UCD fight for contention.

The Buffs once again had a stellar defensive performance, successfully clearly the ball in each of their 12 attempts, marking the second straight game the Buffs were perfect on clears. In the crease, Paige Soenksen grabbed nine saves and held UCD to just one first half goal. For the fifth straight game, CU held its opponent to five or fewer goals in the second half.

"Paige did great," CU head coach Ann Elliot said. "Especially in those first five minutes, she kept us in the game. If she doesn't make some of those saves in the first five minutes, then it's a totally different game. We're down by three goals instead of being up by a couple. She's always solid back there. She makes the saves that we need her to make, and on top of that, she comes up with some of those big saves that are wide open. She continues to be a leader and a strong part of our defense."

Johnna Fusco and Cali Castagnola led the Buffs offensively. Fusco had a career-high five goals and three assists, while Castagnola had her second consecutive game with four goals. Castagnola has now had five games with at least four goals. Five other Buffs each added a goal of their own. Once again, Katie Macleay was an important part of the attack, contributing three assists.

"We were having trouble defensively, coming up and finishing plays, coming up with the ground balls, but once we were able to do that, we were able to push the transition," Elliott said. "We worked on transition all week because we knew we might get some opportunities where we could run by people in the midfield, and our kids were able to execute that in the game. I think between Cali, Johnna and our entire attack, they were able to find openings early on and put their shots away."

UCD's Elizabeth Landry, who ranks in the nation's top 50 in goals, points and draw controls, led the Aggies with a hat trick, four ground balls and three draw controls. Ellie Delich and Lauren Nardi were the only other Aggies able to sneak past Soenksen. Kai Murphy and Morgan Sissler split time in the net, combining for 10 saves.

"Today was a big game for us," Elliott said. "It was another great opportunity for us in our conference. It was one that we wanted to come out just like we did last week, and be aggressive and really play together as a team and see if we could play for a full 60 minutes. We came out to a little bit of a slower, sloppy start, but then our kids were kind of able to pick it up and play hard. It was a very physical game, but we were able to keep our composure and execute offensively and defensively, which was exciting for us."

Though UC Davis took the first three shots of the game, CU scored goals off its first four. CU also took great advantage of UCD errors, with the Buffs scoring four of their first five goals off of three Aggie turnovers and one foul.

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