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Locals helping Colorado program on the rise

Locals helping Colorado program on the rise

When Annapolis graduate Katie Macleay committed to play lacrosse for the new Colorado program three years ago, she said she wanted to make history.

Now, in her senior year, that history has taken on a whole new meaning.

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The Buffaloes have soared to No. 4 in the country after upsetting then-No. 5 Penn State, 16-11, in State College on Sunday. Penn State was a final four team last year and the Buffs weren't even in the preseason top 20.

"Going in there and being on the first-year roster was a chance to make history right there," Macleay said. "Originally all my friends and me were getting recruited to East Coast schools and then when I found out University of Colorado was starting a program, I was like, 'Wow. This would be a great opportunity.' When I saw the coaches [including head coach Ann Elliott] that were going out there, they played at Northwestern and when they started their program they were able to succeed and win a championship in the fourth year of the program."

Starting attacker Macleay, the Buffs' third-leading scorer entering Wednesday, and reserve defender Maddie Hunt, a Catonsville graduate, are the only Baltimore-area players on the roster. They're among 15 seniors who built the program under Elliott, a player on three national title teams at Northwestern, including the first in 2005.

The Buffs finished 13-5 last year, third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, but they were close to picking up that signature win, falling to Southern California, 9-8, late in the season.

Now, Macleay and her teammates believe they can challenge for the national championship.

"My freshman year, I didn't think that was possible, but I did know we could make a difference," Macleay said. "We went 11-8 [in 2015], and finished third in our conference and that was a huge motivation for us, especially my class. Now, we're all seniors and that's exactly what we're going for, exactly what we've wanted to achieve these past few years."

Loyola, Navy open Patriot League play: Loyola Maryland will try to keep its perfect Patriot League record intact when the Greyhounds travel to Annapolis to meet Navy in the conference opener for both teams Saturday at 1 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Greyhounds have won all three championships since joining the Patriot League and haven't lost a game to a league opponent. Last year, they defeated Navy, 12-8, for the title. The Mids have never beaten Loyola since the series began with the Greyhounds' entrance into the conference.

While each team had significant roster turnover from last season, two players on each side return from the All-Tournament team — Loyola's Frankie Kamely and Sabrina Tabasso, who ranked among their top five scorers heading into Wednesday's 11-7 loss against Virginia, and Navy's leading scorer Jenna Collins (River Hill) and Morgan Young, who is in the Mids' top four.

Quick hits: Only three teams remain undefeated in Division I — Maryland, Colorado and Princeton — down from seven last week. ... Johns Hopkins goalie Caroline Federico (Maryvale) ranks sixth in Division I with a 7.58 goals-against average. ... Maryland ranks second in scoring offense with 16.5 goals per game. ... Navy freshman Kelly Larkin has been Patriot League Rookie of the Week for three straight weeks.

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