Women's Lacrosse

No. 5 Pioneers Win 12-7 vs. Villanova in Big East Semifinals


STORRS, Conn. – The No. 5 University of Denver women’s lacrosse team secured a spot in the Big East Championship Game with a 12-7 win against the Villanova Wildcats in the conference semifinals on Friday afternoon at Joseph. J. Morrone Stadium.
Top-seeded DU will play host and No. 23 Connecticut in the title game on Sunday at 10 a.m. MT in a nationally-televised contest on Fox Sports 2. UConn, the No. 3 seed of the tournament, beat No. 2 seed Marquette 17-16 earlier in the day on Friday.
The Pioneers will be going for their third-straight and fourth-ever conference tournament title and will be playing in the Big East Championship Game for the sixth consecutive year.
“I’m pleased that we held them to seven goals. I think that was great, under 10 is always our goal, so I was happy with that,” said Denver head coach Liza Kelly of the win over Villanova. “We gave up a couple more eight-meters (shots) in the second half than what I wanted. We changed some things on the draw, so I was super happy with Abby Jenkins and the draw crew for doing that.”
Freshman Ryan Dineen continued her torrid pace against Big-East foes as she had five points on two free-position goals and three assists. Junior Sloane Kipp scored three times for the Pios to earn her sixth hat trick of the season.
“Sloane has been great April on,” Kelly said. “She is someone that has been playing a lot of minutes for us, and her shot is just spot on. Really a spark for us.”
DU graduate student Kayla DeRose and seniors Ellie Curry and Julia Gilbert all tallied twice, and sophomore Lauren Black found the back of the net as well. Sophomore goalkeeper Emelia Bohi made five saves while adding two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
The Pioneers finished with a 14-9 edge in draw controls. Junior Abby Jenkins earned seven and grad student Trinity McPherson picked up five. Jenkins now has 111 draw controls on the campaign, breaking her own single-season school record from last year (109).
McPherson added three ground balls and two caused turnovers, as DU forced VU into 10 turnovers on the day. The Pioneers have caused at least 10 turnovers in 17-of-18 games this year.
Caroline Curnal and Isabella Francati both had two goals for the Wildcats. Villanova split their goalies, with starter Olivia Conquest and Cate Gallagher stopping three shots each.
Francati struck first for Villanova at 4:26 of the first quarter, but DU scored the next six goals and went on a 10-2 run into the third frame. The Wildcats tallied four of the final six markers of the contest but couldn’t close the deficit.
Denver outshot Villanova 21-17 overall.
The victory stretched DU’s winning streak to 18 games, the longest in program history and surpassing the 17-game run from March 5-May 9, 2014.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers will be playing the UConn Huskies in the Big East Tournament for the third consecutive season. Denver defeated Connecticut in the 2021 championship game and won last year in the semifinals while serving as the host school.

  • Denver is now 10-0 all-time against Villanova. The Pioneers were playing the Wildcats for the third time in the Big East Tournament (3-0).
  • The Pioneers improved to 8-3 all-time in the Big East Tournament and 18-17 in all-time conference tournaments.
  • Sam Thacker now has 46 caused turnovers this season and moved into a tie with Kate Henrich for the third-most in a single campaign in school history.
  • Abby Jenkins’ seven draw controls are tied for the sixth most in a conference game in school history while Trinity McPherson’s five is tied for 11th.
  • Julia Gilbert has a goal in all 18 games this year, while Ellie Curry is now on a 13-game point streak and Lauren Black is on a 10-game run with at least a point.
  • Ryan Dineen now has 41 points (23g/18a) in seven games against conference opponents this year—the most among all freshmen in the league.
  • The Pioneers previous conference titles were in 2021 and 2022 in the Big East and in 2014 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

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