DENVER – The No. 3 Denver Pioneers women’s lacrosse team gets set for two games this weekend, beginning with a Friday night clash against the Stanford Cardinal under the lights at Peter Barton Stadium at 7 p.m. MT. DU then travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday to take on the Xavier Musketeers at 9 a.m. MT.
The Friday night matchup with the Cardinal marks the Pioneers’ final non-conference game of the regular season and their first true night outing since hosting the University of Colorado at Peter Barton Stadium last year on April 27.
Denver is 13-0 on the season and is 3-0 in conference play after picking up a pair of wins last week. The Pios defeated Butler 19-4 on Wednesday, April 5, before winning 14-9 at No. 25 Connecticut on Saturday.
The Pioneers are 14-18 all-time against the Cardinal but have won each of the last six meetings dating back to 2017. DU, which is 7-7 at home in the series, won 8-6 in comeback fashion last year in the Bay Area. The former Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foes have met every year since DU’s program began in 1999.
Stanford is 7-6 overall this season and is third in the Pac-12 standings with 5-2 conference record. The Cardinal split its two games last weekend, winning 22-11 at Arizona State on Friday before falling 10-7 at No. 21 USC on Sunday.
Sunday’s game against Xavier will be the first-ever matchup between the teams as the Musketeers are in in their first season as a program. Xavier is 0-3 in Big East play but has a 4-7 overall record, which featured a three-game winning streak from Feb. 24-March 4.
After playing three games in a matter of eight days last week, the Pioneers get set to start a stretch of three outings in nine days, culminating in their senior day against Georgetown on Saturday, April 22.
LAST TIME OUT: The No. 3 Pioneers controlled the circle on Saturday and held an opponent to fewer than 10 goals for the 13th time this season in a 14-9 victory at the No. 25 Connecticut Huskies. Denver won the draw-control battle 20-7, holding a 11-5 edge in the first half and winning 9-of-11 in the second half. DU led 9-5 at halftime before adding five more tallies in the final 30 minutes.
Junior Abby Jenkins led the Pioneers with 10 draw controls while senior Sam Thacker recorded a season-high six DCs. Three players had hat tricks in the game; Julia Gilbert, Sloane Kipp and Ryan Dineen each tallied three goals, while Kipp also added an assist to finish with a game-high four points. Goalkeeper Emelia Bohi made nine saves, with seven coming on free-position shots.
BIG EAST WEEKLY HONORS: Three DU players picked up conference hardware on Monday as senior Ellie Curry was named Midfielder of the Week, senior Sam Thacker was named Defender of the Week and attacker Ryan Dineen was recognized as Freshman of the Week.
Curry totaled five points (3g/2a) in the two games while adding six ground balls and causing three turnovers. Thacker combined for three ground balls, eight draw controls and six caused turnovers in DU’s win vs. the Bulldogs and Huskies. Dineen had an 11-point week (5g/6a), registering a career-high six assists and eight points vs. Butler before recording her third hat trick of the season at UConn.
THACKER PART OF 30-20-20 GROUP: Defender Sam Thacker is one of four players in the nation that have recorded at least 30 caused turnovers, 20 draw controls and 20 ground balls this season.
The Lutherville, Maryland, native had 31 caused turnovers, 20 draw controls and 29 ground balls this year, and joins Rutgers’ Meghan Ball (46 CT, 70 DC, 39 GB), Maryland’s Abby Bosco (31 CT, 68 DC, 34 GB) and Iona’s Kira Varada (38 CT, 59 DC, 40 GB) as players to reach those marks.
KELLY SIGNS EXTENSION: University of Denver Athletics announced on Wednesday, April 12, that it has signed women’s lacrosse head coach Liza Kelly to a multi-year contract extension through the 2028 season.
“Over the last decade and a half, Coach Kelly and her staff developed DU lacrosse into an elite level program,” said DU Athletics Director Josh Berlo. “Liza has continued to recruit very talented players that fit her system and constructed one of the top defenses in the nation. This season, the program has reached elevated heights, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead in its undoubtedly bright future as the program chases championships competitively, academically and socially.”
Kelly is in her 17th season at the helm of the program after coaching five years at Boston University. Since joining the Pioneers prior to the 2007 campaign, she has led DU to six NCAA Tournaments in the last 10 years, the program’s first quarterfinal appearance in 2019, eight regular-season conference titles (5 MPSF, 3 Big East) and three conference tournament championships (1 MPSF, 2 Big East).
BIG IN THE BIG EAST: DU is 3-0 on the season in Big East play and has won 24 consecutive conference regular-season games dating back to April 28, 2018. The Pioneers’ last loss to a conference opponent in the main campaign was an 18-13 defeat vs. Florida on April 21, 2018.
STREAKING: Denver is off to its best start to a season in school history at 13-0. Overall, the 13-game winning streak is the fourth-longest in program history with the 2012 squad. The team record is 17 wins in a row in 2014.
- Abby Jenkins recorded 10 draw controls, marking the sixth time in her career in double-digits at the circle. She now owns six of the top 15 individual draw control games in program history.
- Denver is now 9-0 all-time against Connecticut and was playing its first game in Storrs since April 11, 2021.
- Julia Gilbert recorded her eighth hat trick of the season and third in as many games. She has scored in all 13 outings this year.
- Gilbert went 2-for-2 on free-position shots and now has 12 on the season, the most in a single campaign by a Pioneers since Quintin Hoch-Bullen had 13 in just eight games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
- Sloan Kipp has now recorded a hat trick in back-to-back contests. Each of her three goals came on free positions.
- Ryan Dineen posted her third hat trick of the season.
DOMINANT D: The Pioneers rank first in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 5.92 goals per game. James Madison is second at 7.29 goals against per game and Loyola is third at 7.46.
Denver hasn’t allowed double-digit goals in a game this season, as the season-high is nine from UConn on April 8.
The Pioneers are second in the country in caused turnovers per game at 12.62 and have recorded double-digit CTs in each of the first 12 games of the season, breaking the school record of 11 to open the 2021 campaign. DU is third in the NCAA in draw controls percentage at 62.5 percent.
Sam Thacker is tied for eighth in the country and first in the Big East in caused turnovers at 2.46 per game. Teammate Bryn McCaughey is 26th in the country and second in the conference at 1.85 per game.
HISTORY VS. STANFORD: The Pioneers and Cardinal have met every season since Denver’s program began in 1999, with the Pios owning a 14-18 all-time record. DU has won each of the last six meeting dating back to 2017, including a 15-13 win in the 2021 in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The Pioneers earned an 8-6 victory last year in Stanford, going on a 6-1 run in the final 34 minutes to earn the comeback victory. The Pioneers are 7-7 all-time against the Cardinal at home, as Stanford is set to visit the Mile High City for the first time since falling 17-13 to Denver on Feb. 8, 2020.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL: Stanford is 7-6 overall this season and is third in the Pac-12 standings with 5-2 conference record. The Cardinal split its two games last weekend, winning 22-11 at Arizona State on Friday before falling 10-7 at No. 21 USC on Sunday. Stanford is 2-4 on the road this year and lost last month in its first trip to Colorado this season, falling 17-15 at the CU Buffaloes on March 17. Ashley Humphrey leads the team in assists and points, tallying 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points. Annabel Frist is second on the squad in scoring with 52 points and leads Stanford with 43 goals and 106 draw controls. Goalkeeper Kara Rahaim has started 13 games and has a 7-6 record, 12.71 goals-against average and .431 save percentage on the season.
LAST TIME VS. STANFORD (Feb. 18, 2022): No. 15 Denver defeated No. 14 Stanford 8-6 at Cagan Stadium in the Bay Area in the team’s second game of the 2022 campaign. The Pioneers trailed 5-2 with 4:01 to play in the second quarter before ending the game on a 6-1 run in the final 34 minutes to pull out the two-goal victory. Bea Behrins led the Pioneers with five points (4g/1a) and Lauren Black added a pair of markers as well to round out the Pioneers’ multi-point getters. Denver’s defense was the story in the run, holding the Cardinal to just three shots across the entirety of the second half. In her second win in as many starts, Emelia Bohi made five saves and allowed five even-strength goals. The victory was the Pioneers’ 15-straight regular-season win.
SCOUTING XAVIER: The Musketeers are in in their first season as a program and own a 4-7 overall record. XU picked up its first victory in program history on Feb. 24 at Radford, winning 15-14, and the start of three consecutive victories. Xavier also earned road wins at Longwood on Feb. 26 and Presbyterian on March 4. The squad won its first home contest on March 12 vs. Eastern Washington. The Musketeers have dropped their last four contest, with the past three being in Big East play. They lost 22-7 last Saturday, April 8, at Marquette. Lola Mancuso leads the team with 34 goals and 38 points (34g/4a), while Riley Halloran is second with 24 goals and 28 points (24g/4a). Goalkeeper Marina Piszczor has started 10 of the 11 games she’s appeared in and has a 3-6-0 record, 16.43 goals-against average and .407 save percentage.
CONNECTIONS: Denver freshman Megan Myers and Stanford sophomore Allison Baldwin are both from Bethesda, Maryland, and attended Georgetown Visitation Prep school … Xavier graduate student Jessica Harrison is from Fort Collins and freshman Makayla Au is from Centennial, Colorado.
HEALTHY AMOUNT OF HELPERS: Attacker Ryan Dineen registered six assists on April 5 against Butler to tie for the eighth-most helpers in a single game in program history. It was the 17th time that a Denver player had at least eight assists in the game, and Dineen is the seventh different student-athlete to record the feat.
Hannah Liddy, who recorded six or more assists five times in her career, was the last Pioneer with six helpers in a game on April 25, 2021 against Villanova. Jill Remenapp (5), Steph Coyne (2), Lexi Sanders (2), Kristie Leggio (1) and Kara Secora (1) are other DU players that have reached that mark in a contest.
JENKINS SETS DRAW CONTROLS RECORD: Junior draw specialist Abby Jenkins set the school record for career draw controls on April 1, with six wins on the day against Villanova to bring her career total to 227. The previous record was 225 set by Kiki Boone from 2012-2015.
‘Juice,’ as her teammates call her, set the single-season record last year when she earned 109 draw controls, besting Maddie Baum’s previous mark of 108. She had 55 draw controls as a freshman in 2021.
Jenkins recorded 15 draw controls on March 13 vs. Delaware, tying Baum (March 15, 2019 vs. Gardner-Webb) for the second-most in game in program history. Baum owns the record of 16 draw controls on March 10, 2018 vs. Niagara.
PIONEERS IN THE POLLS: Denver stayed at No. 3 in both the Inside Lacrosse Women/IWLCA coaches and the Nike/USA Lacrosse Magazine polls, which were released on Monday. This is the highest the Pioneers have ever been ranked in the national polls. DU, which was No. 10 in the preseason, has been placed inside the top 11 in both rankings all season.
Denver 22-3 all-time as a top-10 team in the country. The Pioneers are 8-30 all-time against teams ranked in the top 10 in the country and is 2-0 this season with wins vs. then No. 4 Maryland and No. 5 Boston College. This is the first season where the Pioneers have recorded two victories against top-five programs.
TEWAARATON WATCH LIST: The Pioneers have five players on the watch list for the 2023 Tewaaraton Award, given to the top collegiate player in the country. Midfielder Ellie Curry and attacker Julia Gilbert were added to the list on March 30, joining defenders Sam Thacker and Trinity McPherson and goalkeeper Emelia Bohi, who were previously named to the list earlier this season.
HOME TURF ADVANTAGE: Denver is 5-0 at home this season and is on an eight game winning streak on its own turf dating back to last year. The Pioneers own a 33-3 record in its last 36 contests at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium (since start of 2019) and are 47-6 in home games since the start of the 2017 campaign. Denver owns a 128-24 all-time record at Barton Stadium, which opened in 2005.
DU had a 21-game home winning streak come to an end last season with a loss vs. No. 1 Boston College on March 9, 2022. It was the Pios’ first loss at Peter Barton Stadium since Feb. 26, 2019 (12-10 loss vs. Michigan).
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