An over-performing, cobbled-together volleyball team finished with a share of the regular season Summit League Title with three other teams. They traveled to Vermillion, S.D. for the Summit League Tournament, won the first round, advanced to the semifinal and fell Monday to the Omaha Mavericks in five sets (21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 14-16). The Pioneers battled back from a two-game deficit and lost in extra points. The team started 1-7 in non-conference play with a new coach and the loss of key players.
Starting middle blocker Brianna Green transferred to TCU while setter Lauren Carter left for Northwestern along with setter Emma Ziegler to Creighton. Setter Lorrin Poulter is using her 5th year at Purdue. Maddie Hensen went to Iowa. Future recruits de-committed as Canadian Olympian Lydia Johnson jumped to Michigan and Sydney Barrett switched to Dayton. Denver was left with no returning setters, a critical position, on the squad, and only one middle, Cadi Boyer. Head Coach Megan Pendergast was left to fill the holes late in the recruiting cycle. She found graduate transfers to fill many of the holes and the team found their footing in conference play. This marks the end of the season for fall sports.
Denver Volleyball is going to lose their grad transfers (Cassie Davis, Mackenzie Fidelak, Cadi Boyer) along with graduating seniors (Molly Mirrabelli, Ryen Wilkens, Gianna Bartalo). Pendergast will have to work in the off-season to reload. It does appear that Denver may be an ideal spot to recruit experienced volleyball grad transfers so Pendergast may elect to go that route again.
Denver’s other fall sports enjoyed strong regular seasons but found mixed results in the post-season. Denver’s men’s and women’s soccer squads both won their regular season titles but lost in Summit League Conference semifinal shootouts. Men’s soccer earned an at-large bid but lost to SMU 2-1 in the second round. Women’s triathlon crowned a national champion, Maira Carreau, and finished tied for a 3rd place team finish.
Pioneer fans can look forward to winter sports with men’s and women’s basketball as well as hockey, all three underway. If you want to learn more about Denver lacrosse, watch this excellent video to learn more about the Matt Brown era and DU men’s lacrosse which will start play in late January.