The No. 1 DU women’s club lacrosse team is headed to the national championship for club division II. The tournament is set to take place on the weekend of May 4 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Last season, the team was ranked No. 3 in the nation heading into the national tournament. They ended up finishing No. 6.
This year, 12 teams have advanced to the national tournament. The tournament is structured in a pool format. Each pool contains three teams, where a sole victor will advance on to the semifinals.
The Pioneers were seeded No. 1 heading into the tournament. Their pool contains No. 8 Iowa State University and No. 12 University of Montana. If DU wins their pool, they will have to defeat either Oakland University, Grand Canyon University or Utah State University to advance to the championship.
DU did not face Iowa State or the University of Montana during the regular season.
DU’s regular season record was 10-2. However, one of the losses came from the University of Colorado, which is a club division 1 school. In division 2 play, the team is 10-1.
Head coach Mindy Stone attributes the success this year to talented freshmen and overall commitment.
“All of the players have been hardworking and they’re very dedicated. We have a strong incoming freshman class and our upperclassmen became more committed this year,” she said.
Senior captain Amy Franks has seen a similar shift in the team since last season.
“The difference this year is we are a lot more committed and there is a lot of team camaraderie and I think that has really helped us.”
In order to get to nationals, the team had to earn it, performing over the course of the season, specifically in a tournament in Santa Barbara, California. In California, the Pioneers went undefeated and conquered the highly ranked University of Utah. DU lost to the University of Utah at regionals in April, but since Denver had beaten them before, their ranking was strong enough to advance.
The mental side of the game will be a huge component heading into national championships.
“We’re trying to be pretty confident, but it’s gonna be a lot of teams we haven’t faced before. I think we have a strong team overall, so we’re feeling good and we’re pumped to go play,” said Franks.
Coach Stone and the team are obviously very excited for this opportunity, but there is a serious task at hand.
“Our main goal is to win the national championship, and everyone needs to be focused mentally and physically and come out ready to go,” said Stone.