They are 30-3 over the past two seasons and their 16-8 road win at Villanova this past weekend guaranteed DU women’s lacrosse at least a share of the conference title – yet again. That now makes it three straight regular-season titles (2020 was canceled due to COVID-19). Sitting at #9 in the national rankings, Denver women’s lacrosse is on a tear, sitting at 14-1, 4-0 this season. They have outscored their opponents 196-118 and take 11 more shots per game.
Bea Behrins leads the Pio attack with 51 goals and 16 assists while Lauren Black and Julia Gilbert have combined to chip in another 69 goals and 20 assists to balance out the scoring. Kayla DeRose, Ellie Curry, and Charlotte Boote added another 37 goals and 16 assists as Denver provides scoring depth up-front. The Pioneer offense comes in waves. However, the defense drives the bus for this season’s squad.
Their defensive aggressiveness is the Pioneers’ trademark. DU has secured 90 more ground balls than their opponents and forced 104 more turnovers from their opponents than then they commit. Sam Thacker leads the nation in caused turnovers with 3.07 per game and Denver leads NCAA Division I in caused turnovers per game with 13.71. To bring it all together, they are fourth nationally in scoring defense (7.86). Head Coach Liza Kelly’s squad is especially dangerous in the second half of tight games as they wear down their opponents with their relentless, smothering defending. The Villanova game was just the latest example as DU throttled the Wildcats 10-3 in the second half.
— Denver Women’s Lacrosse (@DU_WLAX) April 22, 2022
This year’s team has toiled in relative anonymity as Denver hockey stole the spotlight along with unusual spring weather in Denver. However, the team also fell victim to inconvenient and downright puzzling scheduling with four home games this season at 1:00 pm on weekdays when most fans and families are unable to attend. And that included the weather-shortened game against then-#1 Boston College – a Wednesday afternoon matchup – which likely would have been played in its entirety and in front of a sold-out crowd if it was scheduled for a weekend afternoon or evening.
Fans get their last two chances to see the Pioneers in regular-season action, though, on Wednesday night at 7:00 pm MT against the Colorado Buffaloes and then Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm against Marquette to close out BIG EAST play. The Pioneers will also host the conference tournament at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium next weekend.
Top photo of Sam Thacker courtesy of Denver Athletics