DU Lacrosse Teams Defeat Michigan & North Carolina

#9 Denver women’s lacrosse has been anything but ‘under the radar’ this season, going 5-0 to start the season, while defeating #21 Michigan Thursday evening, 7-5, at Peter Barton Stadium. The men’s lacrosse team, 3-2, has been largely unheralded despite a close road defeat to Duke, 14-13 in OT, earlier this season. The men’s team traveled to Chapel Hill Saturday and led practically wire-to-wire but needed clutch goals in the final minutes to secure a tight 9-8 win over the #12 Tar Heels.

The men led 4-3 after the first quarter and matched the Heels 2-1-2 over the next three quarters to earn the gutsy road win. Demarco Antonio put the tar Heels up by one, 8-7, with 3:24 remaining but Denver came storming back with goals by Mic Kelly and JJ Sillstrop. Sillstrop’s game-winner came at 1:23 and the Pioneers held strong the rest of the way.

Denver matched North Carolina in nearly every statistical category. This season, Denver continues to improve on ground balls versus last season, winning 28-25 for the game.  Malcolm Kleban was in cage for Denver and stopped 7 shots over 60 minutes with the help of a stout defense. Alec Stathakis was dominant at the X, giving the Pioneers a possession edge with 14 of 20 faceoff wins.

DU Women’s lacrosse played an equally tight match against Michigan. Like the men’s game against North Carolina, Denver led Michigan by one after the first quarter, 2-1. Denver matched the Wolverines in the second quarter 2-2, leading at the break 4-3. The Wolverines Jill Smith and Kaylee Dyer scored the final two goals of the third quarter to knot the score 5-5. With the man-up advantage, Reagan Wilson pulled the Pioneers ahead of the Wolverines for the ultimate game-winner. Julia Gilbert secured the insurance goal unassisted for DU with 7:10 remaining. Deteriorating weather and tough defense on both ends held the score until the final buzzer, 7-5 Denver.

Julia Gilbert and Mollie Estepp led Denver with two goals each in the winning effort. Denver outshot the visitors 28-16 and won the draw-control battle 10-6. Next up for Denver is #5 Maryland in College Park at 10:00 am MT Sunday.

As a reminder, you can now order LetsGoDU exclusive men’s and women’s lacrosse attire. Proceeds will be distributed to benefit both DU men’s and women’s lacrosse programs and support junior writers at LetsGoDU. Go HERE to order.

Photo: Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics

2 thoughts on “DU Lacrosse Teams Defeat Michigan & North Carolina”

  1. Huge wins for both programs here in the early season.

    Critical for the men’s victory over #9 UNC was DU face-off man Alec Stathakis having a 70% win rate on the day, which translated to owning ground balls and possessions. Good to see Sillstrop and Kelly deliver the late goals DU needed as winning in Chapel Hill is no easy feat.

    DU has another tough road game next weekend at #12 Yale. A road win over the Bulldogs would be really helpful in positioning DU’s future NCAA bid resume, as Big East league play is looming and figures to be the usual bloodbath between DU, Georgetown and Villanova.

    The #9 DU women are winning with a defense-first philosophy, and playing #5 Maryland at College Park coming this Sunday will tell us if this Pio team is a legit top 5 threat. DU has never come close to beating the Terps, who are coached by former DU coach Cathy Nelson Reese, who coached the Pios from 2004-2006 before moving on to coach at her alma mater.

    The Terps lead the all-time series against Denver, 4-0, with the Terps and Pioneers meeting in the NCAAs in back-to-back seasons in 2018 & 2019.

    Maryland last whipped Denver in the 2019 NCAA Quarterfinals, 17-8, en route to the program’s 15th National Championship.

    All four meetings between the Terrapins and Pioneers have been in College Park, with the 2019 meeting taking place in the football stadium, where Sunday’s tilt will be played.

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