VILLANOVA, PA. 5/4/2017 – The top seeded Florida Gators will play the third seeded Denver Pioneers for the Big East Championship in women’s lacrosse. The #16th ranked Pioneers defeated the Georgetown Hoyas, the second seed, by a score of 9 – 8. The #2 Gators defeated Denver 15 – 8 in March. Now, the rematch.
This was a thriller that was not decided until the Pioneers picked up a ground ball with 2 seconds remaining.
After Georgetown fought back to tie the game, Denver had an opportunity to get the lead back. The Pioneers held the ball looking for the dagger shot. The ball came loose in front of the net. In the scramble Denver midfielder Emily Conway scooped the ball and sent a shot past Hoya goal keeper Maddy Fischer with 36 seconds left to play, and a trip to the finals.
Georgetown got the ensuing draw control, but could not get a shot off.
This semifinal was more defensive in nature than the first game. Goals would be at a premium.
The Hoyas trailed by four scores going into the second half. Two goals by attacker Taylor Gebhardt sliced the lead in half as she scored twice within five minutes of play to make the score 6 – 4 in favor of the Pioneers. Elizabeth Behrins got one back for Denver at the 17:18 mark.
Georgetown stayed in contention as Morgan Ryan and Georgia Tunney found the back of the net to cut the deficit to 7 – 6 with 10:22 to play. The Pioneers put pressure on, then got the next one by Lanuza, her 32nd of the season.
Kendra Lanuza scored what appeared to be the decisive goal of the game, her second in the contest, a man-up goal, with 4:41 on the clock to give the Pioneers a 8 – 6 lead. Hanna Seibel got one back for the Hoyas at the 2:39 mark before Kate Stouffer tied the game at 8 28 seconds later.
Denver got some breathing room at halftime scoring two goals in the last three minutes. The goals came from leading goal scorer Julia Feiss and Katherine Fischer to take a 6 – 2 lead into the intermission. The statistics were tight with Denver holding a 10 – 8 advantage in shots. Eight different players found the back of the net.
Georgetown defeated Denver at home 9 – 7 in the next to the last game of the regular season.
Lanuza had a team-best 2 goals. Caitin Derry, Audrey Schreck, and Emily Conway also had 2 points For the Pioneers.
Gebhardt led the Hoyas with a game-high 3 goals. Ryan and Emily Ehle notched 3 points for Georgetown.
The Hoyas had a 24 – 21 edge in shots. Fischer made 4 saves. Maddy Stevenson had 8 saves for the Pioneers.
Written By: Glenn Papazian