Women's Lacrosse

Nine Pioneers Recognized with Big East Conference Honors


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DENVER – Nine University of Denver women’s lacrosse players garnered Big East regular-season honors on Thursday, including senior Sam Thacker repeating as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and senior Julia Gilbert recognized as the Co-Attacker of the Year.
This is the fourth straight season that the Pioneers won both the Defensive Player and Attacker of the Year awards.
Both Thacker and Gilbert were named to the All-Big East First Team alongside Pioneer teammates Emelia Bohi (goalkeeper), Ellie Curry (midfield) and Trinity McPherson (defense). Four DU players were selected to the conference second team: attackers Lauren Black and Ryan Dineen, defender Bryn McCaughey and draw specialist Abby Jenkins.
Denver led the Big East in having the most total players on all-conference squads and also led by having the most on the first team (five) and second team (four).
Thacker was a unanimous selection for the second straight season for the Defensive Player of the Year award, and she is the first Big East player to repeat as top defender since Florida’s Caroline Fitzgerald in 2016 and 2017. The Lutherville, Maryland, native leads Denver with 45 caused turnovers, is second with 43 ground balls and is tied for third with 29 draw controls. The defender is one of three players in the nation that has more than 40 caused turnovers, 40 ground balls and 25 draw controls.
Gilbert leads the Pioneers in scoring with 44 goals and 51 points on the year. The McLean, Virginia, native is also first with six game-winning markers and has tallied 14 times from the free position, tied for the fourth-most in a season in program history. Gilbert has scored in all 17 games this year, has 10 hat tricks, and her .700 free-position percentage is the sixth-best in the country.
Bohi leads all goalies in the nation with 17 wins and a 5.99 goals-against average. The sophomore is also first among all Big East keepers with a .524 save percentage, which ranks sixth overall in the NCAA. The Bethesda, Maryland, native hasn’t allowed more than nine goals in a game all season long.
Curry has registered 27 goals, 12 assists and 39 points this year, ranking third in each category on the Pioneers. The Lutherville, Maryland, senior has also added 21 goals and 15 caused turnovers in 2023.
McPherson is first on the team with 47 ground balls, ranks second with 44 draw controls and is third with 28 caused turnovers. The graduate student defender from Baltimore has also added five goals and five assists—the first points of her career.
Black is second on the Pios with 31 goals and is fourth in scoring with 36 points. The sophomore from New Westminster, British Columbia, has found the back of the net in 15-of-16 games played, scoring multiple goals 10 times and registering five hat tricks.
Dineen is second on Denver with 40 points and leads all freshmen on the team with 23 goals and 17 assists. The Huntingtown, Maryland, native has 36 points (21g/15a) in her last 11 games and led all Big East freshmen with 28 points (14g/14a) in conference play—nine more than second-place Rayea Davis of UConn (12g/7a in five games).
McCaughey is second on the squad with 29 caused turnovers and ranks third in the conference by forcing 1.71 turnovers per game. The junior is third on DU with 33 ground balls, and the Leesburg, Virginia, native scored her second career goal on March 13 against Delaware.
Jenkins has dominated the circle for the second consecutive season as she has earned 104 draw controls in 2023. The junior has 268 career draw controls, as the Richmond, Virginia, native broke the program’s previous record of 225 on April 1 against Virginia (held by Kiki Boone, 2012-2015). Jenkins’ 104 draw controls this year rank fourth-most in school history, and she is six away from surpassing her own single-season record of 109 that she set last year.
Connecticut’s Kate Shaffer and Villanova’s Sydney Pappas joined Gilbert as Big East Co-Attackers of the Year following a tie in the voting. UConn’s Landyn White repeated as Goalkeeper of the Year and Lola Mancuso of Big East-newcomer Xavier was chosen as Freshman of the Year. Marquette’s Lydia Foust was named Midfielder of the Year while the Golden Eagles were also recognized as having the Coaching Staff of the Year.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers begin postseason play on Friday as they face the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East Tournament Semifinals at 2 p.m. MT in Storrs, Connecticut. The conference championship game is set for Sunday at 10 a.m. MT in Storrs.

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