For 15 minutes Sunday, things looked good for the Michigan women’s lacrosse team. Its defense held Colorado scoreless and thanks to a diving, side-armed goal by junior attacker Natalie Carti, the Wolverines held a 1-0 lead over the Buffaloes.
Then, it all unraveled.
Colorado took control, thumping Michigan, 11-4, in the final game before the Wolverines begin conference play.
Michigan’s woes began at the 14:39 mark of the first half, when sophomore attacker Mae Tarr received a yellow card, giving Colorado a two-minute man advantage. Though the Buffaloes were unable to generate sustained pressure in Michigan’s defensive zone up to that point, they suddenly found new life, scoring a minute later to tie the game at one.
Just six seconds later, the Wolverines continued to cause themselves harm. Junior defender Kelly Kubach earned the yellow card, and Colorado had another two-minute man advantage.
Once again, the Buffaloes capitalized on the situation, scoring with 12 minutes remaining in the half to take their first lead of the game.
“I wasn’t upset with the yellow cards,” said Michigan coach Jennifer Ulehla. “It was really unfortunate.”
Things didn’t get any better for the Wolverines after the goal. The Buffaloes won the faceoff, charged down the field, and after setting up for two minutes, scored yet again to surge to a 3-1 lead.
Michigan fought back, though. Junior midfielder Anna Schueler scored off the faceoff to narrow the lead back down to 3-2.
The Wolverines’ hopes for a rally were short-lived, though, as only a minute later, an unassisted Colorado goal stretched their deficit back to two.
“The defense we were running — all of our line defenders played incredibly well,” Ulehla said. “They dealt with adversity well. It’s our offense that we have to get back on track.”
After entering the second half down two, Ulehla made a personnel change in the cage, replacing junior Allison Silber with freshman Mira Shane.
But the decision backfired, as the Buffaloes scored four goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half. Following Colorado’s eighth goal, Ulehla reversed her decision, taking Shane out and putting Silber back in.
Still, the situation did not improve. Michigan was unable to establish any substantial presence in the Colorado zone, and even when they did, the Wolverines were unable to connect more than a few passes away from the net.
Two more goals followed after the final goalie change to make it 10-2 and the game was all but over. Michigan and Colorado traded goals in the final 10 minutes, but in the battle between two three-year-old programs, the Buffaloes reigned victorious.
Despite Michigan’s recent scoring problems — the Wolverines haven’t scored 10 goals in a single game since March 1 — the team is still excited for the upcoming Big Ten season.
“If you can’t get excited about playing Ohio State next weekend, then I don’t think you’re a Michigan Wolverine,” Ulehla said. “That’s in our blood, and we’re really looking forward to that and have been looking forward to that all year. I think from a morale standpoint that helps our focus, (that) the big games are now coming.”
Still, though, all the excitement in the world couldn’t cure Michigan’s offensive issues Sunday. And against Ohio State, the Wolverines will be facing a team that has won seven straight games and is looking to defeat them by even more than they by lost Sunday.