Feb. 11, 2018
BOX SCORE | Photo Album
DENVER— The season opener may have been delayed by a day, but the Denver Pioneers (1-0) weren’t deterred as they defeated the [23/RV] Stanford Cardinal (0-1) 12-9 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Pioneers got on the board early and were able to withstand an early lead by the Cardinal to pull even at halftime, and used lockdown defense in the second half to hold the ranked opponent to just two second half goals in the victory.
“I think we were all excited for our first game and excited to play against Stanford,” said head coach Liza Kelly. “They are an old rival of ours from before I got here, so it’s a fun game to play. I think everybody appreciated playing in sunshine rather than snow.”
Junior attacker Julia Feiss (Baltimore, Md.) recorded the first goal of the season for the Pioneers, as well as the first goal of the game on the first offensive possession, occurring at the 28:50 mark of the first half.
However, Stanford took advantage of man-up opportunities with goals at the 26:53 and 26:12 mark to take an early 2-1 lead.
The Cardinal pulled ahead 3-1 before senior Riley Eggeman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) got the Pioneers back on the board with an unassisted goal at 19:16.
After another Stanford goal put the visitors back up by two, Denver freshman Eliza Radochonski (Englewood, Colo.) scored her first goal in Crimson and Gold off of a Feiss assist at 15:43.
A goal by sophomore Molly Little (Tiverton, R.I.) off of a feed from captain Caitlin Derry (Seal Beach, Calif.) tied the game at four with 10:13 to play in the half.
The Cardinal proceeded to respond with two quick goals within a 31-second span (at 8:53 and 8:22) to go back up 6-4, but once again, the lead would not last.
Denver got three straight goals from Feiss (4:25, 3:28) and junior Elizabeth Behrins (3:52) to regain the lead at 7-6. Feiss ended the game with three goals to go along with two assists, for a team-high five points for the Pioneers. Behrins added an assist on the final goal of the game for two points in the game.
The Cardinal tied the game at seven shortly before halftime with a goal from Kelsey Murray, which is how the score would end going into the break. Murray ended the game with a team-high three goals and added one assist in the loss.
DU was the first to strike in the second half, with back-to-back goals from freshman Quintin Hoch-Bullen (Severn, Ontario) at 25:44 on a free-position shot, and again a minute later at 24:44 on an unassisted goal to give the Pioneers a two-goal advantage.
Stanford answered with an unassisted goal by Murray to close in on the Denver lead at 9-8, but Little tallied her second goal of the game on a free-position shot at 20:03 to again create a two-goal cushion.
The Cardinal would add one final goal at the 18:50 mark of the second half, but the second half was controlled by Denver. DU outshot Stanford 16-13 in the second half, while going 2-5 on free-position shots, and had a 10-4 advantage on ground balls.
Radochonski scored the final two goals of the game at 12:24 and with 36 seconds left to put a cap on the Denver victory at 12-9, finishing 3-5 on shot attempts.
Junior attacker Kendra Lanuza (Littleton, Colo.), who had one assist, was held without a shot attempt, but the Pioneers found new contributors to propel the Crimson and Gold to the win. In their first collegiate game, freshmen accounted for five goals, including a hat trick by Radochonski, and transfer Little added two of her own in her first appearance as a Pioneer.
While the offense scored the necessary goals to give the Pioneers their first win of the season, it was the play of sophomore goalie Carson Gregg that made the difference. In her first career start, the Severna Park, Md., native recorded 16 saves off of 33 shot attempts by Stanford, and held the Cardinal to 0-11 on free-position shots, including several key saves late in the game to keep the Pioneers in front. The goalkeeper also added a team-high three ground balls to her stats and played all 60 minutes in the net.
“I thought Carson was great,” said Kelly. “I thought the defense in front of her was really giving her the shots that we wanted her to face and I thought she stepped up and delivered.”
Statistically, Stanford outshot Denver 33-32, won 19 of the 23 draw controls and had an 11-8 advantage on free-position shots, but it was the play of Gregg and the defense that kept the score in the Pioneers’ favor. Denver was a perfect 12-12 in clears in the first half and 7-10 in the second, compared to Stanford who was just 12-18 on the day, and forced the Cardinal into 23 total turnovers. Junior Caroline Lewis (Baltimore, Md.) led the defense with three caused turnovers with eight Pioneers in total having at least one caused turnover.
“I think there is a lot for us to work on,” assessed Kelly. “I’m glad we walked away with the win. I think there were a lot of very good things, but I think that we know that there is a long season ahead of us and a lot of room for improvement.
“It’s a different spot only having two-to-three weeks of preseason, so there were some things that we hadn’t really had a chance to cover yet. The game kind of showed us what we need to work on.”
UP NEXT: The Pioneers play their first away game of the season next weekend as they travel to play Louisville on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. MT. Denver’s next home game is Feb. 23 at noon against San Diego State.
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