Women’s Lacrosse to Join BIG EAST in 2017

photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

Announced Monday morning (May 3) Denver women’s lacrosse will join its male counterparts in the BIG EAST conference effective immediately in the 2017 season. The Pioneers become the tenth team alongside Butler, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Marquette, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Villanova competing in the BIG EAST.

Denver’s transition east, marks the departure from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation after 13 years. During that time, the Pioneers won the conference title six times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014). In every season with the MPSF, the Pioneers have made an appearance in the conference tournament.

Joining the BIG EAST conference further establishes Denver’s western dominant presence in the sport.

“We are very excited to have a second team join a conference with such a rich tradition of excellence,” Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes said in the program’s press release. “We look forward to hosting these teams in the Lacrosse Capital of the West. As I said when the men joined three years ago, the academic reputations of the institutions in the BIG EAST are consistent with the standards that we hold our own student-athletes to. It’s an honor to have both the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs in this elite conference.”

Against current members of the BIG EAST conference, Denver maintains a 7-6 record under Head Coach Liza Kelly who has guided the Pioneers for ten seasons.

“Being welcomed into a highly competitive 10-team conference speaks to the hard work of our past Pioneers,” Coach Kelly said. “The BIG EAST will give us the chance to boost our schedule and complete against universities that focus on the overall experience of the student-athlete.”

7 thoughts on “Women’s Lacrosse to Join BIG EAST in 2017”

  1. This is really excellent news. The MPSF is being crushed by the departure of the PAC-12 schools to form their own women’s lax conference, and getting DU into the Big East is a great result for DU!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great move which will generate added excitement to our woman’s lax program. In addition to what Puck said, the BE will help recruiting. We are now guaranteed many trips to our recruiting hot beds on the east coast.


  3. Dunker is right. Most of the Wlax roster is from the East anyway, this helps DU’s east coast visibility and recruiting.

    Perhaps someday, even more DU sports can end up there. These Big East are the kinds of schools that DU wants to be seen with…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If the Pac 10 schools are leaving, this was a great move. I will miss games against Stanford, Cal, & USC. But we can still schedule them for non-conference. This looks like a recruiting plus.
    Maybe there is a plan over time to get us in this conference for other sports, too. You have to be nimble in today’s environment when you are not in a super conference. The Big East is one of the top conferences outside the Big 5.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting into the BE in hoops is a long shot but we have 2 things in our favor taking into account the current leanings in college athletics.
      1. We aren’t so out of the way anymore. It’s really no more difficult for East coast schools to fly to Denver then it is for them to fly to Milwaukee and Omaha, WVA flies to Texas and for 1/2 of their games. Texas A&M comes east to play all sports.
      2. TV. It drives everything. Adding the Denver market would be huge. Creighton, Butler, and Marquette have smaller markets then Denver. As someone said in a Summit League post: those are cities you fly over trying to get somewhere else. With so many people living in Denver who once lived on the I-95 corridor, Denver has ready to go TV viewers. (BE schools on the I-95 corridor include Providence College, St. Johns,, Nova, Seton Hall and Georgetown)


  5. Once ASU announced they were adding women’s lax in 2017, DU had to start looking to get out of the MPSF. Fomer MSPF schools Stanford, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, USC and ASU make six teams, which gives you an autobid to the NCAAs, so Pac 12 formation was mandatory, That left only five teams in the MPSF – San Diego State, St. Mary’s, Fresno State, UC Davis and DU, one school below the auto-bid threshold. DU had to get out of there, and Big East was not only an escape valve, but an upgrade. Great job by our AD, Peg Bradley-Doppes to turn a lemon into lemonade…

    Liked by 1 person

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