Women’s lacrosse looks to bounce back versus Denver on Friday
A busy season-opening week comes to an end on Friday as the JU women’s lacrosse team will host Denver in a 4 p.m. contest at D.B. Milne Field.

The Dolphins (1-1) will be playing its third game in six days and will look to post a winning three-game homestand against the Pioneers. The contest marks the season opener for Denver and the start of a four-game road trip.

JU will be looking to rebound from a loss to the 17th-ranked Florida Gators in its previous game. Sophomore Ellyn Spangenberg enters as the Dolphins hottest scorer, netting back-to-back two-goal games against Cincinnati and Florida to start the new campaign.

Spangenberg (four goals) is tied with freshman Jen Cosgrove for the team lead. Fellow freshman Chelsea Watts has also displayed solid hands near the cage, registering the first two goals of her collegiate career against the Gators on Wednesday. Watts racked up a three-point game against Gators, including a spin-move from the 4-meter hash late in the first half.

JU battled back last game, out-scoring Florida, 6-5, in the second half. The Dolphins also drew 11 free-position shots after halftime and capitalized with five goals.

“I liked our second wind in the Florida game and I thought we ran with them and created quality scoring chances,” JU head coach Mindy McCord said. “We capitalized on some of those chances and we will continue to try and take advantage of those opportunities.”

The Dolphins will be playing Denver for the first time in the program’s two-year history. After playing the Big East-member Bearcats and geographic rival Florida, JU will now face a Pioneers squad that went 13-5 and 6-0 in the regular season against fellow Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents last season. Denver is also ranked No. 20 in the Inside Lacrosse poll.

“This year we’ve been fighting for entire games and we’re taking some serious steps forward as a program,” McCord said. “We have a tough slate to start the season with quality non-conference opponents but so far our effort has been good."

JU will be playing its first game ever against Denver. The Pioneers advanced to the MPSF Tournament championship game before falling to Stanford in double-overtime. Denver boasts four returning all-MPSF conference selections, including attacker Lauren Ciccomascolo, middie Tulley Stapp, attacker Kara Secora and junior goalkeeper Ashley Harman.

- By Brian Bohl