Big Comeback Falls Short; Nerves doom Mok in NCAA women’s singles tournament

A first set to forget doomed Bianca Mok in the first round of the NCAA women’s singles tournament, as her storied career now comes to a close after a 6-1, 7-6 loss to Kansas star Anastasia “Nas” Rychagova.

“I think overall she was just more steady than I was this time,” Mok said after play ended, referring to their unfinished match in Lawrence two weeks ago. In that contest she was convincingly beating the #13 ranked player in D1 college tennis (it was abandoned after KU clinched the team victory). Continue reading Big Comeback Falls Short; Nerves doom Mok in NCAA women’s singles tournament

Last Pio standing Bianca Mok faces familiar opponent in NCAA singles tournament

In the traditional three-act structure employed in narrative fiction, the final act  is resolution, with first a climax and then everything tied up and resolved.

Monday, on the hot and humid shores of Lake Nona in Orlando, DU senior Bianca Mok will be standing in the middle of the third and final act of her rivalry with University of Kansas juggernaut Anastasia “Nas” Rychagova, the #13 singles player in college tennis. The two will square off at 3:30pm MT in the first round of the 64-player NCAA singles tournament (the doubles tournament is this week as well but the Pios did not have a team that qualified). Continue reading Last Pio standing Bianca Mok faces familiar opponent in NCAA singles tournament

Denver Women’s Lacrosse falls to Maryland in NCAA Quarterfinals, 17-8

Photo: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

The Terps (#1 seed, 20-1) raced out to a 9-3 first half advantage and coasted to a convincing win over Denver (16-4) Saturday in College Park, Maryland.

Denver had their chances in the NCAA quarterfinal match with 15 first-half shots but only 6 on-goal. Maryland’s offense was much more efficient (79% scoring) with 14 shots on-goal in the first half. Denver faced a stout Terrapin defense that held Denver scoreless for a 17 minute stretch during the first half to build their substantial lead. Maryland was led by 4 goals from Caroline Steele in the half.

Continue reading Denver Women’s Lacrosse falls to Maryland in NCAA Quarterfinals, 17-8

Denver Women’s Lacrosse travels to the Belly of the Beast

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics. DU’s standout goalie, Carson Gregg, is a key to this season’s success

Denver Women’s Lacrosse Travels to play the Maryland Terrapins Saturday afternoon in the NCAA quarterfinals – and it will not be an easy assignment.

Maryland women’s lacrosse (19-1) has won 14 national championships and is the top overall seed yet again this season. To add to the challenge, unseeded Denver (16-3) must travel to College Park, Maryland to play the vaunted Terps on their home turf. Continue reading Denver Women’s Lacrosse travels to the Belly of the Beast

Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan

#17 DU shocked 7th-ranked Michigan in a 9-5 second round upset in the NCAA Tournament May 12. Photo: DU

The 17th-ranked Denver Pioneers (16-3) women’s lacrosse team made school history on May 12, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich., exacting a revenge upset on the #7th-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines (16-4) , 9-5 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. DU now advances to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history, and will play the top-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins on May 18 at 5pm MT for a trip to the NCAA final four.

Michigan had beaten Denver 12-10 at DU’s Barton Stadium earlier this season, and the Pioneers were in no mood to allow Michigan to win again.

Quintin Hoch-Bullen, a sophomore attacker from Orillia, Ontario, led the Crimson and Gold with a five-goal performance, firing in two goals in the first half and adding three more in the second half. Katherine Fischer held down the Denver defense, totaling four caused turnovers and limiting the Wolverines to just five goals in a ferocious defensive contest.

“This is a very special moment for our team,” said DU head coach Liza Kelly. “To be able to advance to the quarterfinals, with this group of girls, is such an unbelievable experience. They have worked so hard all season long, and I’m excited to see what comes next in our journey.”

Elizabeth Behrins, Eliza Radochonski, Bea Behrins and Hannah Liddy all contributed one goal each to help lead the Pioneers past the Wolverines.

The defense was in full force all game, with 14 Pioneers tallying at least one ground ball, and three contributing to Denver’s nine draw controls. Senior Audrey Schreck totaled five draws and Fischer accumulated four ground balls to lead the Crimson and Gold.

DU’s standout goalie, Carson Gregg spent all 60 minute in net, totaling six saves for the win.

The Crimson and Gold dominated Michigan in most statistical categories, accumulating 29 shots, 23 ground balls, nine draws, six saves and going a perfect 19-19 on clears. The Wolverines posted 19 shots, 12 ground balls, seven draws, 11 saves and went 20-22 on clears.

A scoreless first 18 minutes was broken by Hoch-Bullen with 12:12 remaining the in first half. Bea Behrins followed four minutes later to put the Pioneers at a 2-0 lead, but Michigan scored its first of the game less than a minute later. Hoch-Bullen closed out the half with a goal on the free position, putting the Pioneers up 3-1 heading into halftime, the lowest scoring half this season for DU.

Hoch-Bullen was once again the first to score in the second half, bringing Denver to a 4-1 lead with 25 minutes remaining in the game. Radochonski followed suit with her first goal of the game at the 23-minute mark. Ten minutes later Elizabeth Behrins scored her first with a shot to the top right shelf right past the Michigan goalie. Less than a minute later, the Wolverines responded, narrowing Denver’s lead to three at 6-3. Liddy scored her 15th goal of the season off a free position to increase the Crimson and Gold’s lead to four, followed by another goal from Hoch-Bullen. The Wolverines posted two more before the final whistle, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback, leaving the Pioneers with a 9-5 victory.

The Pioneers will next travel to College Park, Maryland for yet another revenge showdown on May 18  with the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins, who crushed the Pioneers in last year’s NCAA tournament second round in College Park, 15-4. DU has never beaten Maryland in the three all-time games between the programs. If DU were to upset Maryland next week, it would be one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history. Maryland is 19-1 this season and is the best team in the country, destroying #15th ranked Stony Brook, 17-8 in its second round game on May 12.

The Terps are coached by Cathy Nelson Reese, who was DU’s head coach from 2004 to 2006, before becoming Maryland’s head coach in 2007, her alma mater.  Reese has since won four NCAA titles at Maryland.

Some 10 current Pioneers and DU head coach Liza Kelly also hail from the Old Line State, marking a homecoming for them, as well as four more DU players from nearby Virginia and several more players and staffers also from the East Coast, making for a likely good visiting crowd of DU parents and friends in Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium next week.

 

Radochonski Powers Denver to 11-10 OT Upset of USC Trojans in NCAA First Round

Eliza Radochonski (#26 at center) was the DU hero, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals for Denver in a 11-10 NCAA first round overtime upset over USC. Photo: University of Denver

The #17th-ranked University of Denver women’s lacrosse team upset the #13th-ranked University of Southern California, 11-10 in a dramatic overtime finish in Ann Arbor, Mich. to advance to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

“I’m really proud of our fight today,” said DU head coach Liza Kelly after the game. “This is what we’ve been preparing for all year, and I think we came out ready to fight for that [NCAA Second Round] spot on Sunday.”

The late-game drama in Ann Arbor on Friday night was simply incredible.

Indeed the Pioneers, who had played very well in building a commanding 8-4 second half lead over USC, watched in horror as their lead suddenly evaporated as the Trojans bore down and took over the game in the middle portion of the second half.

USC reeled-off six second-half goals as the women of Troy grabbed a 10-9 lead into the final minutes of regulation time. USC looked very poised to win and advance, and the Pioneers’ awesome season was slipping away fast under the Trojan momentum…

But the Pioneers were determined not to let USC hold on. Indeed, Georgetown had come back on the Pioneers to win the Big East final in Milwaukee, Wis. in overtime last week, and the Pios did not want their season to end on a similar bitter note on this Ann Arbor night.

This time, DU dug-in and had their hero cued and ready…  

Sophomore attack Eliza Radochonski became the hero by the force of her dominant will in the final minutes of the game, putting the Pioneers’ whole season on her own proverbial back as she thundered into the offensive zone with about 4:40 left in regulation.  Taking a dangerous pass from DU’s Julia Feiss 10 feet outside the USC net with two Trojan defenders draped in her face and making any shot on net almost impossible, Radochonski had other, more radical ideas. She suddenly turned away from the goal (and the USC defenders) and fired a trick shot backwards over her own shoulder and into the high corner of the USC net to tie the game, 10-10 in highlight-reel fashion.  The Pioneers were so inspired by Radochonski’s goal that they held on for the rest of regulation time, forcing the game into overtime.

Then soon into the sudden-death extra frame, Radochonski moved into DU legend territory by striking again with the overtime-winner on a bouncing shot from 15 feet out just 1:30 into the OT, after a nice pass from DU’s Kendra Lanuza.  The ball came to rest in the back of the USC net behind dejected Trojan netminder Riley Hertford as the DU players swarmed “Rado” in elated victory in a swirling pile of Crimson jerseys. TheTrojans fell stunned to the turf, their season over.

Radochonsky (#26) after her game-winning goal sent Denver to the NCAA Second Round. Photo: DU

The Pioneers thus improved to 15-3 on the season and head to the second round for the fourth time in program history, and will have a chance to get revenge on the University of Michigan on Sunday at 10 am MT in a second round game. The Wolverines beat DU in Denver earlier this season in a game that the Pioneers will well remember.

Radochonski led the Pioneers with three goals in the USC contest, on top of earning her 100th career point.

Following Radochonski’s hat trick, Bea Behrins, Julia Feiss and Kendra Lanuza all posted two goals against the Trojans. Elizabeth Behrins and Quintin Hoch-Bullen tallied one apiece.

Radochonski and Lanuza led the team with five points each.

USC was led by Hope Anhut, Izzy McMahon and Kaeli Huff, who each had three-point efforts for the Trojans, who ended the season as Pac-12 Champions.

Maddie Baum won four draw controls for Denver, Laura Milleker earned a career-high three draws and Hayden Dean, Audrey Schreck and Hoch-Bullen each had one.

Eight Pioneers caused at least one turnover against USC, Katherine Fischer led the team with two in the contest.

Carson Gregg spent 51 minutes in the DU net and totaled six saves. Amelia Cole wrapped up the final nine minutes in net, including the two minutes of overtime, and had one save.

This marks as the fourth time (2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019) the Crimson and Gold will advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, winning the first round game in all four trips. Last season the Pioneers defeated High Point in the first round 19-10, but fell to Maryland 15-4 in the second round on May 13.

The Pioneers have never won an NCAA second round game, and beating Michigan would be the highest point in the history of the DU program.

Denver Men’s Hoops’ departures mirror other Summit League foes

Photo: Denver Athletics. Elvin Rodriguez announced his intention to transfer out of the Denver basketball program.

As some of you may know, Denver basketball recently lost three players who have decided to leave the hoops program early – sophomores’ Donoven Carlisle and Elvin Rodriquez along with red-shirt senior Jake Krafka. All three players are transferring to other programs. Add the graduation of Ronnie Harrell, Jr. and Joe Rosga and DU is left with no juniors and only one senior on the roster – Ade Murkey.

In total, when looking at DU’s top five scorers from this past season, Denver is left with 19.4 points per game (Murkey 11.3 ppg. & David Nzekwesi 8.1 ppg.) of 52.5 points from last season’s ‘top five’ team scorers. Continue reading Denver Men’s Hoops’ departures mirror other Summit League foes

Denver falls to Georgetown to BIG EAST title game for second straight year

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

DENVER – Just two days after they played their best, most dominant game of the season in a 17-11 victory in the BIG EAST semifinals, the top-seeded Denver Pioneers laid an egg against the reigning BIG EAST champion Georgetown Hoyas in a 12-9 loss. While the championship game loss didn’t end their season a year ago, barring a shocking decision on the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s part, Denver’s season is over. Continue reading Denver falls to Georgetown to BIG EAST title game for second straight year

DU Lacrosse to Play Georgetown for NCAA Berth, Big East Title Today

The entire season is on the line for the Denver Pioneers Men’s Lacrosse team today as the Georgetown Hoyas play DU for the Big East Championship (and the NCAA tournament auto-bid) at 2:30 PM MT at Barton Stadium.

The loser of today’s men’s game will have its season come to an end.

The Pioneers are looking for some revenge after DU lost to Georgetown in last year’s Big East Championship Game. DU also beat Georgetown earlier this season at Barton in regular season play. Game TV coverage is on CBS Sports Network.

The Denver women’s lacrosse team also faces Georgetown today for the Big East Women’s Championship and an NCAA auto-bid in Milwaukee. Game time is 12:30 MT.

 

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