The women’s Big East semifinal pitted undefeated #1 seed  Denver women’s lacrosse (18-0, 7-0) against Villanova. The Pioneers dominated the game on both ends of the field and protected their unblemished 18-0 record. The game took place in Storrs, Connecticut at the UConn George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex where earlier, UConn bounced Marquette 17-16 to earn a slot in the BIG EAST Final.
It was a slow start for both teams as Villanova stepped into the lead behind an Isabella Francati free-position goal. Denver responded with three straight goals by Sloane Kipp, a Ryan Dineen free position tally, and Ellie Curry to put Nova on their back foot. Curry Struck again with only 41 seconds left in the quarter to exit the period leading 4-1. Denver made four of five shots in the period and held the Wildcats to two shots on goal. Denver earned five draw controls to Villanova’s one.
Kipp Sloane and Kayla DeRose opened the second quarter with DU goals, six in a row stretching from the first quarter. The Wildcats stemmed the Pioneer run with goals from Cara Moreau and Addie Fischer but Denver countered with a pair of goals from Sloane, a hat trick, and Dineen, a free position target, to close the half, 8-3. Emelia Bohi, the Denver goalkeeper faced six shots in the half.
The Denver defense stepped up in the third quarter, holding the Wildcats to a single goal by Sami Carey. Julia Gilbert and DeRose doubled up Nova in the quarter with goals and Denver’s defense held the Widcats to three shots on goal in the period. With a 10-4 lead, Denver went comfortably into the final quarter.
Villanova scored three times in the fourth quarter but DU’s Julia Gilbert and Lauren Black doused any hope of a comeback. The final score 12-7, Denver.
Denver played a physical game with 21 fouls on the day. The Pioneers had the edge in draw controls (5) and ground balls (2) while deadly on the offensive end, scoring 12 goals on 18 shots (67%) – displaying amazing offensive efficiency.
The BIG EAST Championship game between Denver and Connecticut will be held at 10:00 am Sunday at the UConn George J. Sherman Family-Sports Complex
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics