April 13, 2018
DENVER— With 12 minutes to play in the second half, a Villanova goal cut the Denver lead to one at 9-8, but the Pioneers closed out the game with the next five goals to take a 14-8 victory over the Villanova Wildcats (6-7, 1-5 BIG EAST) on a chilly evening at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
With the win, the Denver Pioneers moved to 9-4 on the year and 4-2 in the BIG EAST.
It was back-and-forth early on, with Denver answering Villanova’s first two goals before Denver broke open the game with four-straight goals, including back-to-back goals from Molly Little, to take a 5-2 lead and would take a 6-3 into the half.
In the second half, Villanova stormed back with a 5-3 run to close Denver’s lead to just one goal at 9-8, to which DU responded with the final five goals of the contest to secure the win.
Julia Feiss led the offense with four goals , three of which came in the first half, and fellow junior attacker Kendra Lanuza had a balanced two goal, two assist night for four points as well.
Freshman Bea Behrins was unstoppable down the stretch, scoring the final three goals of the game to secure the win, her first collegiate hat trick. She also had an assist in the second half, her first collegiate assist, finishing the game tied for a team-high four points.
Carson Gregg, Nicki Wilkinson and Little recorded two ground balls each and six different players recorded a caused turnover in the game (Gregg, Katherine Fischer, Caroline Lewis, Little, Riley Eggeman, Milburn) to anchor the defense. Maddie Baum and Kennedy Milburn each had four draw controls on the game to lead the Pioneers in the category.
In net, Gregg made four saves in the win, standing behind a defense that held the Wildcats 23:43 without a goal in the first half, as well as a stretch of 12:13 in the second half and the final 12:36 without a goal.
Denver had the advantage in shots over Villanova by a margin of 37-15, allowing just 12 shots on goal by the Wildcats while the Pioneers registered 28 shots on goal against VU’s Olivia Gonsalves.
DU also held the edge in ground balls (11-7), draw controls (13-11), caused turnovers (7-4) and were 4-of-5 on free-position attempts, whereas Villanova was just 2-for-4. The Pioneers were 20-22 on clears in the game as well.
Villanova opened the game with a goal at the 28:48 mark, but Feiss got the Pioneers on the board on a free-position goal almost a minute and a half later (27:11). The Wildcats regained the lead on a second goal by Julian Swikart at 26:23, which would be the last time that the visitors held the lead in the contest.
Sophomore midfielder Little evened the game at two with a goal (25:09) on a Quintin Hoch-Bullen assist and gave the Pioneers their first lead of the game on an unassisted goal, her 11th of the season, with 16:17 remaining in the half.
Feiss gave the Crimson and Gold a two-point cushion on her second free-position goal of the game (13:57), and Caitlin Derry made it four straight goals for the Pioneers on a wraparound goal with 10:22 left in the first half.
A Villanova unassisted goal ended the 4-0 run by Denver, however, Feiss earned the hat trick with 2:03 on the scoreboard to give Denver the 6-3 lead at the break.
Out of the break, the visitors scored the first goal of the second half on a man-down opportunity (28:07) to cut the lead to two, but Eggeman got the goal back for the home team on a free-position goal (25:21), the 13th goal of the season for the senior midfielder.
Lanuza doubled the lead for the Pioneers on an unassisted goal at the 19:15 mark, and the lead expanded to five at 9-4 on Feiss’ fourth goal of the game, and her 34th of the season, off of a pass from Bea Behrins (17:25).
Villanova fought back with the next four goals in a span of 3:18, on a goal at 15:54, two free-position goals (15:11 and 13:30) plus another goal at 12:36 to cut into the Denver lead at 9-8.
Hoch-Bullen ended the run with a critical goal for the Pioneers on a Lanuza pass (11:26) to put the Pioneers in double digits for the ninth time this season, with Denver winning each game that it scored 10 goals or more.
Denver went on to score four more goals to push the lead to its largest margin of the evening at six.
Lanuza added a free-position goal with 5:46 to play, but after that, it was all Bea Behrins. The freshman scored her first goal of the contest on an unassisted goal (4:39), and then made it back-to-back just 50 seconds later (3:49) on a Lanuza assist. Behrins finished the game with the final goal 49 seconds after that, ultimately scoring three goals in a span of 1:39.
After Denver called a timeout with 12:36 remaining, Baum and Milburn combined to win four of the next six draw controls, each time leading to a DU goal. The two times that Villanova won the draw, Gregg made a save which eventually led to Fischer picking up a ground ball to start the transition to offense which led to a goal, and the other time the defense forced a turnover, leading to a Gregg ground ball and allowed the Pioneers to bleed the clock.
UP NEXT: Denver has two games next week, first heading to Milwaukee to play the Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday, April 18th at 1 p.m. MT, before hosting the [6/9] Florida Gators on Saturday, April 21 at noon. Saturday’s game will also be the last home game of the regular season, in which we will honor our seniors.
Fans interested in making a donation to the women’s lacrosse program can do so by CLICKING HERE. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:
Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
2201 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
- JOIN THE DENVER PIONEER NATION --
Visit DenverPioneers.com for complete coverage of all 17 of Denver's NCAA Division I sports.
Like Denver Pioneers and Denver Women's Lacrosse on Facebook
Follow @DU_Pioneers and @DU_WLAX on Twitter