All posts by 5BWest

Denver Women’s Lacrosse falls to Maryland in NCAA Quarterfinals, 17-8

Photo: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

The Terps (#1 seed, 20-1) raced out to a 9-3 first half advantage and coasted to a convincing win over Denver (16-4) Saturday in College Park, Maryland.

Denver had their chances in the NCAA quarterfinal match with 15 first-half shots but only 6 on-goal. Maryland’s offense was much more efficient (79% scoring) with 14 shots on-goal in the first half. Denver faced a stout Terrapin defense that held Denver scoreless for a 17 minute stretch during the first half to build their substantial lead. Maryland was led by 4 goals from Caroline Steele in the half.

Continue reading Denver Women’s Lacrosse falls to Maryland in NCAA Quarterfinals, 17-8

Denver Women’s Lacrosse travels to the Belly of the Beast

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics. DU’s standout goalie, Carson Gregg, is a key to this season’s success

Denver Women’s Lacrosse Travels to play the Maryland Terrapins Saturday afternoon in the NCAA quarterfinals – and it will not be an easy assignment.

Maryland women’s lacrosse (19-1) has won 14 national championships and is the top overall seed yet again this season. To add to the challenge, unseeded Denver (16-3) must travel to College Park, Maryland to play the vaunted Terps on their home turf. Continue reading Denver Women’s Lacrosse travels to the Belly of the Beast

Denver Men’s Hoops’ departures mirror other Summit League foes

Photo: Denver Athletics. Elvin Rodriguez announced his intention to transfer out of the Denver basketball program.

As some of you may know, Denver basketball recently lost three players who have decided to leave the hoops program early – sophomores’ Donoven Carlisle and Elvin Rodriquez along with red-shirt senior Jake Krafka. All three players are transferring to other programs. Add the graduation of Ronnie Harrell, Jr. and Joe Rosga and DU is left with no juniors and only one senior on the roster – Ade Murkey.

In total, when looking at DU’s top five scorers from this past season, Denver is left with 19.4 points per game (Murkey 11.3 ppg. & David Nzekwesi 8.1 ppg.) of 52.5 points from last season’s ‘top five’ team scorers. Continue reading Denver Men’s Hoops’ departures mirror other Summit League foes

Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse Seal Regular Season Titles on the Road

Photo: Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

#12 Denver men’s (9-4, 4-1) and #15 women’s lacrosse (12-2, 4-0) completed a rare regular season Championship sweep on the same day Friday. Both teams earned their regular season titles in different ways.

The women earned a convincing 14-8 win against the Villanova Wildcats. DU ran out to a 7-3 lead in the first half and coasted to victory. DU’s Quintin Hoch-Bullen and Eliza Radochonski led the Pioneers with three goals each against the Wildcats en route to the crown.

With the win, Denver women’s lacrosse become the 2019 BIG EAST Regular Season Champions for the first time in program history. Continue reading Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse Seal Regular Season Titles on the Road

DU’s Secret Sauce: Coaching Depth

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics

DU added yet another National Coach of the Year winner this past week. Head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart was rewarded for her work with DU Gymnastics. Kutcher-Rinehart joins eight other Denver coaches who have won the award in their respective sports of hockey, swimming and diving, nordic and alpine skiing, soccer, and lacrosse.

Continue reading DU’s Secret Sauce: Coaching Depth

Shot clock a net neutral for Denver Men’s Lacrosse

Inside Lacrosse published an article on the shot clock, Have the New Rules Increased the Pace of Play? And the piece concludes, “The shot clock (80 seconds) has resulted in every DI team playing at a faster pace of play in 2019. The average possessions per game has hit its highest mark in our 10-year data set at 82 possessions per game. This represents nearly a 20% increase year-over-year as compared to 2018.”

So, how have the new rules affected Denver Men’s Lacrosse?

We did an analysis below comparing this season to the prior three years. However, this does not take into account roster changes during this period, the Trevor Baptiste factor (.714 winning % at the X), weather and opponents.

Year Games Denver Goals – total/Avg Goals Allowed – total/Avg Total Goals – Avg Denver Turnovers – Total/Avg Opponent Turnovers – Total/Avg Turnovers – Total/Avg GM
2019 12 146/12.2 109/9.1 21.3 174/14.5 213/17.7 32.2
2018 17 193/11.3 134/7.9 21.7 201/11.8 169/9.9 21.7
2017 17 229/13.4 149/8.8 21.1 200/11.8 158/9.3 20.8
2016 16 217/13.5 146/9.1 22.6 199/12.4 164/10.2 22.6

And the conclusions?

Continue reading Shot clock a net neutral for Denver Men’s Lacrosse

Pioneers in the Playoffs: Sasha Kandrach

It is an exciting time to be an NHL  hockey fan with a number of tight Stanley Cup playoff series and a red hot local squad – the Colorado Avalanche. Add a host of former DU hockey players to the playoff mix and first-year coach Jim Montgomery winning his first playoff series for the Dallas Stars and you have compelling story lines.

But many of us have our eyes on the New York Islanders. Yep, that’s right – the Isles.

Journalist Sasha Kandrach, a former LetsGoDU feature writer, is now on the Islanders beat as a reporter and social media coordinator living out her ‘dream job’. And, we couldn’t be more proud of the Islanders first-year  journalist. Continue reading Pioneers in the Playoffs: Sasha Kandrach

Twenty One Year Journey Ends at Mountain Top

DU did not win a national gymnastics title Saturday night. The University of Oklahoma (198.3375), DU’s Big 12 Conference mate,  brought home the title with Denver settling into 4th place in their first NCAA Gymnastics Finals.

Still, Denver’s journey ended with the elite company of #1 UCLA, #2 Oklahoma and #3 LSU. Far from an ‘overnight sensation’,  Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart and her upstart program fought headwinds to build a regional powerhouse- 18 straight NCAA appearances. But, Saturday’s NCAA Gymnastics Final Four vaulted (pardon the pun) DU onto the national stage and into the NCAA gymnastics psyche. And these Pioneers just might be planting a flag next time. Continue reading Twenty One Year Journey Ends at Mountain Top

DU Gymnastics Makes History, Advances to NCAA Final Four

Photo: Courtesy of Denver Gymnastics Twitter

The Denver Pioneer Gymnastics made program history as (#5)-seeded Pioneers rocked the NCAA Gymnastic Championships Friday in Fort Worth, Texas and when the smoke cleared, the Pioneers posted a 197.0375 score to beat nine-time NCAA Champion Georgia and Oregon State to join No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 LSU in Saturday night’s NCAA Gymnastics Finals (5 p.m. MT/ESPNU). DU had never made to the final 4 teams in program history.

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to advance,” head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said in a press release. “I’m incredibly proud of our team and our student-athletes. They have continued to show tremendous character, competitiveness and consistency, and we are incredibly proud.”

Look, while we are not gymnastic experts at LetsGoDU with the knowledge to thoroughly analyze today’s performances, we do know a great thing when we see it.

With top-ranked Oklahoma cruising to a win and the top seed in the Pioneers’ evening semi final, DU was fighting off the Georgia Bulldogs and Oregon State for the final qualification spot in the Final Four, as UCLA and LSU had already qualified in the afternoon session. In the end, it came down the final rotation in the semi-final.  Heading into the fourth and final rotation, Denver was tied with Oregon State for second with a 147.650. Senior and co-team DU captain Claire Kern lead off the bars rotation with a 9.8375 to set the tone for the Pioneers. Ruiz scored a 9.875 in the second spot while Mia Sundstrom and Emily Glynn followed with 9.850s. Lynzee Brown continued DU’s momentum with a 9.900, and Maddie Karr clinched the team finals berth with her 9.9125. The Pioneers were jubilant, and history was made.

This Denver team, the only private school in the finals,  is making history against the elite blue-blood programs of gymnastics. Tomorrow,  Denver will compete in their first gymnastics NCAA  finals ever and has a chance, yet again, to create even more history. Should they win Saturday night, they would be the first women’s team at DU to win a national team title at the D-I level. And, despite the odds, nothing seems out of reach for this group. And even if they don’t win it, DU has served notice that it is an elite-level program. Continue reading DU Gymnastics Makes History, Advances to NCAA Final Four

DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp to Step Down Due to Health Issues

DU’s 18th Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. Photo: DU

University of Denver Chancellor Rebecca Chopp has announced that she will step down from her position on July 14, 2019, due to what she has termed “a complex neurological disorder”. DU Provost Jeremy Haefner has been named interim chancellor.

Chopp, the first female Chancellor at the University of Denver, was sworn into the position on September 18th, 2015. While recent speculation had centered around Chopp’s health, the announcement today was a surprise to many.

Prior to her arrival at the University of Denver, Chancellor Chopp was the 14th President of Swarthmore College. Chopp received her B.A.  from Kansas Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before Swarthmore, Chopp was the president of Colgate University. Before arriving at Colgate in 2002, Chopp was Dean and Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School. She spent 15 years at Emory University before her tenure at Yale.

At the University of Denver, Chopp has been noted for her support of first generation students, like herself. She has a reputation as a solid fund-raiser, and under her leadership, DU recently broke ground on major capital improvements. Also, DU is in the early stages of delivering on her envisioned ‘DU District’ with a comprehensive multiple-year plan for campus and University Park improvements.

As it relates to athletics, under Chancellor Chopp’s watch, the University of Denver continued to win the  I-AAA Directors’ Cup as the best non-football school in DI athletics. Denver also won lacrosse (2015) and hockey (2017) NCAA championships, and Chopp hired DU’s new Athletic Director, Karlton Creech.

We wish Chancellor Chopp the very best in her health battle and thank her for her many contributions to the University of Denver.


The following letter was released today from Chancellor Chopp:

Dear Friends,

As some of you know, I have struggled with health issues this year. Unfortunately, the doctors I have been working with have diagnosed me with a complex neurological disorder that I need to attend to sooner rather than later. After many tests and consultations, I have decided I must step down as Chancellor on July 14. As Chancellor, the 70- to 80-hour work weeks and the stress that naturally is connected to higher education in these unsettled times just does not permit me enough time to focus on improving my health. I have just shared this news with the Board of Trustees who agreed that after I step down as Chancellor in July, I will continue to serve DU as an advisor on special projects. I am also deeply honored that they chose to designate me Chancellor Emerita when I step down.

This community has been so supportive of my husband, Fred, me and our family, and we deeply appreciate it. Now, I would request that you not ask for further details about my health at this time. We need privacy in order to move forward and make sense of this unexpected turn of events. I am sure you can understand and respect that. Thank you.

The most important thing for all of us is what happens next. DU could not possibly be in better hands. Jeremy Haefner, our Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, is a known leader in the future of higher ed and has quickly become “our” leader. The Board of Trustees has wisely decided that Jeremy is the natural and perfect choice to serve as Interim Chancellor beginning in mid-July. Nancy Nicely, our Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff, knows how to ensure our priorities are executed and our community is nurtured. And Leslie Brunelli, who will arrive at DU on June 3, brings an experienced and steady hand to her position as Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Treasurer. The Chancellor’s Cabinet is strong, we have amazing Deans and creative, dedicated and hardworking faculty, staff and students. 

What an amazing five years we have spent together! It all began in 2014 when literally thousands of DU community members stepped forward to share their insights and experiences and help craft the next strategic vision for our University, DU Impact 2025. Together we agreed our emphasis should be on student learning and leading, discovery and design in an age of collaboration, engagement and empowerment in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West, and OneDU, the University’s shared sense of community and values. Embracing our commitments to diversity and inclusivity and sustainability, our common vision was to build on our strengths in research, teaching and service by developing a DU designed by all of us for the 21st century. 

Recently we broke ground on the new residence, the Dimond Family Residential Village, one of three adjacent buildings in the heart of campus that also includes a Career Achievement Center and Community Commons. Together this new and vibrant community gathering space will reshape the way our community comes together and will provide countless opportunities to deepen our connections to one another, and to DU. I am confident we will continue to build towards OneDU as more and more community members step up to play their rightful roles in the implementation of this vision of all that DU can be. This is a magnificent University and as is our tradition, we continue to pursue excellence in our unique DU way. I know that the Board of Trustees is committed to building on the success of these five years and to continue to lean into our innovation, creativity, boundless energy and practical idealism. 

I mean this sincerely–the greatest privilege of my life has been to work with you, to affirm our great strengths and imagine forward. You are, in the words of this simple Kansas girl, “good folks.” God bless you and I look forward to working beside you during this transition and in new and fulfilling ways after July 14.

With love and gratitude,