Denver Women’s Lacrosse on a Tear, Punish Stanford and Xavier

#3 Denver Women’s Lacrosse (15-0, 4-0) continued their historic season with a sweep. The Pio’s took down the Stanford Cardinal Thursday night at Peter Barton Stadium and Sunday morning trounced Xavier on the road to remain unblemished in BIG EAST play.

While first impressions may indicate Denver is driven by a powerful offense (which it is), it is the stingy defense that allows long scoring runs while shutting down opponents. Denver is second in the nation in caused turnovers (12.62 pg), second in the nation in draw control percentage (,625), seventh on save percentage (.510), and number one in scoring defense (5.92). It is hard to win in lacrosse without the ball.

Temperatures plummeted Thursday night following a prior-night snowfall. However, the sudden chill did not cool off Denver against Stanford. Following temperatures in the 80’s earlier in the week,  Peter Barton Stadium turned grey and cold for the 7:00 pm night game but over a thousand people showed up to witness an extraordinary Denver team.

In the first quarter, Stanford started with the first three goals to start the game. Undeterred, the Pioneers went on a run of their own, beginning with 11 seconds remaining in the first period until 10:47 of the third period with eight unanswered goals. Lauren Black led the charge with three goals to match the Cardinal. Julia Gilbert and Ellie Curry added two goals each as Denver overwhelmed Stanford. Alish Kelly finally found net for Stanford at 14:34 of the fourth quarter to end the Stanford scoring drought. The Cardinal celebration was short-lived as 25 seconds later, Lauren Black found twine for DU, leading to another four-goal run by DU,  12-4. The teams traded goals the balance of the game and Denver broke the Cardinal 15-8.

The Pioneers had little time to rest on their laurels as they traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio Sunday to face Xavier on the road. Denver took it to the Muskateers early, routing the home team 16-4 in the first half.

The teams traded goals early for a 2-2 tie. DU’s Kipp Sloane opened up the game with two goals to double up the Musketeers, 4-2. Lola Mancuso made it 4-3 in the first period for Xavier but two goals by Ryan Dineen led a Pioneer 4-goal run. A goal by Xavier’s Molly Smith made the score 8-4 before Denver went on another run, fueled by shut-down defense. The eight-goal run by DU punctured any hope of an upset as the Pioneers raced to a 16-4 lead. Denver outscored Xaver 7-2 the rest of the way, coasting to the BIG EAST win. Thirteen Pioneers scored in the 23-6 win.

#11 Denver Men’s Lacrosse (7-4, 2-1) continued their resurgence with a sweep as well with identical 12-10 wins over Towson on Thursday and Saturday at St Johns.

Like the women’s side, DU was streaky against Towson, scoring the first six goals. Amazingly three of those goals were scored in 14 seconds – a DU record. Towson outscored Denver 4-1 until DU’s JJ Sillstrop restored order with a goal, 8- 4, DU. Towson got last blood by Mikey Weisshaar to end the half, 8-5.

The Tigers nibbled away at the Denver lead and a goal by Joaquin Villagomez pulled the Towson within one goal, 9-8, to end the third quarter. Sillstrop reeled off two straight goals, five for the night, to open the fourth quarter but two consecutive Towson goals made it a one-goal game again in the final five minutes. Denver’s defense held strong and an assist from Sillstrop to Noah Manning with a man-up goal at 3:12 gave Denver their final goal, 12-10, in the road win.

Denver Men’s Lacrosse road win against St Johns on Saturday was a nail-biter. The teams were never separated by more than two goals until Caiden Vlasimsky scored for the Red Storm to give St Johns a 10-7 lead with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter. Two consecutive goals by DU’s Michael Lampert made it a one-point game heading into the fourth quarter. Denver employed stout defense and shut down the Red Storm in the fourth quarter – adding three more goals by Manning, Lampert and A.J. Mercurio to overcome the deficit and earn a 12-10 victory. Denver has reeled off three consecutive wins after falling to Georgetown earlier in the BIG EAST season.

Photo: Courtesy Denver Athletics

2 thoughts on “Denver Women’s Lacrosse on a Tear, Punish Stanford and Xavier”

  1. Glad to see both lacrosse teams picking up late season wins to boost NCAA tourney resumes.

    The top four teams in the NCAA women’s tourney are given home field hosting privileges until the final four, so it’s a huge advantage for the Pios to keep winning and stay in the top four teams. Georgetown coming to Denver for a nationally-televised day game next week is a huge moment for the Pios’ program. It would be great to see a great Barton Stadium crowd for them.

    The men are getting the job done with the first three-game winning streak of the year, although the game against St. John’s was closer than expected. The Pios, even with four quality wins, are likely on the outside of the NCAAs and looking in right now, and they’ll likely need to keep winning to go dancing. Providence at home this week is a very winnable game for DU, but a dangerous Marquette road trip looming is likely the litmus test to see if this Pios team is playoff quality,

  2. So….wouldn’t it be crazy if we were able to bag a national championship this year…in women’s lacrosse??? How awesome would that be? For all I know, there may be a big gap between 1 and 3 in the country. But DU shows no signs of letting up on both offense and defense. So seems like DU has at least a fighter’s chance. Go Pios!

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