Athletics & Recreation

Women’s lacrosse to join Big East for 2017 season

The University of Denver women’s lacrosse team will move to the Big East Conference for immediate competition in the 2017 season. The women’s lacrosse team will be the second Denver team in the Big East, along with the men’s lacrosse team, which joined in 2014. The women’s team will compete against members Butler, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Marquette, Temple, Vanderbilt and Villanova.

“We are very excited to have a second team join a conference with such a rich tradition of excellence,” says Peg Bradley-Doppes, vice chancellor for athletics and recreation said. “We look forward to hosting these teams in the Lacrosse Capital of the West. As I said when the men joined three years ago, the academic reputations of the institutions in the Big East are consistent with the standards to which we hold our own student-athletes. It’s an honor to have both the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs in this elite conference.”

The Pioneers are leaving the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), which they joined for the 2004 season. During the 13 years in the MPSF, Denver won the regular season title six times, including in three straight seasons from 2006 to 2008. DU’s other MPSF regular season titles came in 2010, 2013 and 2014. The Pioneers have competed in the MPSF tournament in every season and won the championship in 2014, earning a bid to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

“Being welcomed into a highly competitive 10-team conference speaks to the hard work of our past Pioneers,” says head coach Liza Kelly. “The Big East will give us the chance to boost our schedule and complete against universities that focus on the overall experience of the student-athlete.”

The Denver women’s lacrosse team holds a 7-6 record against current Big East schools under Kelly. This season, the Pioneers posted a win over Marquette in the first meeting between the two programs. Denver fell to Vanderbilt in 2016 after defeating the Commodores the three previous seasons. In 2013 and 2014, DU lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament as the Pioneers advanced to play the Gators in the second round of the tournament. Denver has also defeated Temple, Connecticut and Cincinnati with Kelly at the helm.

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