PREVIEW: No. 4 Denver Begins Conference Play vs. Villanova
DENVER – The No. 4 Denver Pioneers women’s lacrosse team returns to Peter Barton Stadium for the first time in nearly three weeks as the squad begins Big East Conference play against the Villanova Wildcats Saturday at 1 p.m.
The matinee is also the start of a two-game homestand for the Pioneers, who host Big East-foe Butler on Wednesday at 1 p.m. MT. The Pios then travel to Connecticut on April 8 to conclude three conference matchups in a matter of eight days.
Denver last played at home on March 13 when it defeated Delaware 13-6. Julia Gilbert tallied three times in the game, including her 100th career goal. The Pios are in a stretch of playing four of six contests on their turf.
The Pioneers resume their home slate after previously being in Florida for two games as part of their spring break trip. After defeating then-No. 4 Boston College on March 19, DU beat No. 21 Jacksonville 12-7 on March 22 to improve to 10-0 on the season. Denver held off a Jacksonville rally in the fourth quarter en route to the victory; DU led 6-1 before a 6-2 run by JU made it an 8-7 game early in the final frame.
Villanova University owns an 8-2 record on the season and is 3-1 away from home. The team has won its last three games and picked up a 12-10 victory at Bucknell in its last game on March 22. The Wildcats outscored the Bison 3-0 in the fourth quarter to earn the comeback win.
Denver has never lost to Villanova, owning an 8-0 all-time record. Last season, the teams were tied at 5-5 late in the second quarter before the Pioneers went on an 8-0 run and doubled up the Wildcats with a 16-8 final score.
Villanova will be playing its fourth-ever game in Denver, as it last visited DU for a two-game set on April 23-25, 2021. The Pioneers won those contests by 18-10 and 19-9 scores, respectively.
LAST TIME OUT (DU 12, JU 7): Ryan Dineen led a group of five Denver multi-goal scorers with her second career hat trick, scoring three of Denver’s seven in the first half … Lauren Black, Kayla DeRose, Julia Gilbert and Ellie Curry all netted a pair of tallies for the Pioneers. DeRose and Gilbert added helpers for three-point afternoons … Trinity McPherson had a well-rounded day on the defensive end for the Pioneers, picking up five ground balls, forcing two turnovers, picking up two draws, scoring a goal and adding an assist in transition … Abby Jenkins led Denver in the draw circle once again with five, bringing her within three of Denver’s career record in the category … Emelia Bohi made eight saves and allowed just one goal in a non-free position situation in the contest.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Denver had two players earn Big East Conference weekly honors, as graduate student Trinity McPherson was named Defender of the Week and attacker Ryan Dineen named Freshman of the Week.
McPherson picked up her second top defender of the accolade in the last four weeks after recording a goal, an assist, five ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers against the Dolphins. Dineen picks up her first career honor following her second hat trick of the season, with all three of her goals coming on free-position shots.
TEWAARATON WATCH LIST: Two Pioneers were added to the watch list for the 2023 women’s Tewaaraton Award, given to the top collegiate player in the country. Midfielder Ellie Curry and attacker Julia Gilbert were named to the list on Thursday, joining defenders Sam Thacker and Trinity McPherson and goalkeeper Emelia Bohi, who were previously added to the list earlier this season.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Sydney Pappas leads the team with 32 goals and 39 points (32g/7a) on the season. Kayla Gulmi is the top assist-getter with 18 helpers (4g/18a), while Sam Carey is second with 14 (17g/14a). Caroline Curnal is second on the team with 27 goals and is first with 96 draw controls (27g/6a). Nova has seven players with double-digit ground balls, led by goalkeeper Cate Gallagher’s 17; Maddie Luer and Molly Dunphey are tied for second with 15 loose balls each. Gallagher has seen the most action in the crease, staring six of her seven games played, sporting a 4-2 record, 11.03 goals-against average and .422 save percentage. Keeper Olivia Conquest has won all four of her starts, posting an 8.71 goals-against average and .500 save percentage.
- Julia Gilbert is on a 10-game goal and point streak this season.
- Abby Jenkins has 221 career draw controls, the second-most in Denver’s DI history (Kiki Boone, 225).
- Denver’s defense hasn’t allowed nine or more goals in a game yet this season.
- The Pioneers have finished with 10 or more caused turnovers in all 10 games this season. They are one shy of the 2021 record of 11-straight games to start a campaign.
- Emelia Bohi made eight or more saves for the second time this season (12 at Colorado on Feb. 18), bringing her career total to 149, making her a save shy of becoming the 10th goalie in the program’s history to reach 150 career saves.
- DU has had at least one player with a hat trick in each of the last five games.
TICKETS: Single-game tickets are on sale now by clicking here. Call the Denver Ticket Office at 303-871-4625 for group discounts of 10 or more people.
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