Women’s Lacrosse defeated the Stanford University Cardinal 12-9 in the delayed season opener, after a snow storm Saturday moved the match to Sunday afternoon in the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
“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.”
The Denver squad got on the board early and were able to withstand an early lead by the Cardinal to pull even at halftime. The Crimson and Gold then used lockdown defense in the second half to hold the ranked opponent to just two second-half goals in the victory.
Junior attacker Julia Feiss (Baltimore, Md.) recorded the first goal of the season for Denver and the first goal of the game on the first offensive possession at the 28:50 mark of the first half. Stanford took an early lead, however, and took advantage of man-up opportunities with goals at the 26:53 and 26:12 mark. Stanford extended their lead to 3-1 before senior Riley Eggeman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) got the Pioneers back on the board with an unassisted goal at 19:16.
Another Stanford goal gave the Cardinal another lead of two, but goals from Denver freshman Eliza Radochonski (Englewood, Colo.) and sophomore Molly Little (Tiverton, R.I.) tied the game at four with 10:13 to play in the half. Stanford responded with two goals within a 31-second span to gain their lead of two, but Denver didn’t stop fighting.
Feiss and junior Elizabeth Behrins scored three straight goals to regain a Denver lead of 7-6. At the half, Stanford tied Denver at seven.
Freshman Quintin Hoch-Bullen (Severn, Ontario) struck first for the Pioneers in the second half with back-to-back goals at 25:44 on a free-position shot, and at 24:44 on an unassisted goal to give the Pioneers a two-goal advantage.
Stanford added one final goal at the 18:50 mark of the second half, but the second half was controlled by Denver. The Pioneers outshot Stanford 16-13 in the second half, went 2-5 on free-position shots and had a 10-4 advantage on ground balls.
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. Sophomore goalie Carson Gregg (Severna Park, Md.) made the biggest difference in the opening match. In her first career start, she 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. Gregg 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.”
“I think there is a lot for us to work on,” Kelly said. “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 lot of room for improvement.”
The Pioneers play their first away game of the season next weekend as they travel to play Louisville on Saturday, Feb. 17. Denver’s next home game is Feb. 23 at noon against San Diego State.