May 4, 2017
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VILLANOVA, Pa. - A last-minute loose ball in front of the net saw a swarm of players vying for possession, but it was junior attacker Caitlin Derry who became the hero for the [16/16] University of Denver women's lacrosse program as she scooped the ground ball and fired a long-range shot past Maddy Fisher on Thursday against Georgetown at Villanova Stadium for the 9-8 victory.
The game-winner for the Pioneers (14-3) over the Hoyas (9-9) propelled DU into the BIG EAST Women's Lacrosse Championship against Florida. It is the third-straight year the third seed has bested the second seed in the semifinal matchup to improve the overall mark to 7-4 favoring the lower-seeded team.
Derry was one of four members of the Crimson and Gold to put away a pair of points in the win. She ended with one goal and one assist and was matched by both senior Emily Conway and sophomore Audrey Schreck. Sophomore Kendra Lanuza was the only multi-goal scorer for Denver as she connected for two.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Week Layne Voorhees forced two caused turnovers, matched by junior Riley Eggeman on the defensive half. Senior Maddy Stevenson took the win after making several key stops and ending with eight saves in the crease.
Taylor Gebhardt put away a hat trick in the loss while BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year Francesca Whitehurst was held without a point after finishing with six draws and a pair of caused turnovers. Fisher took the decision for the Hoyas after making four saves in 60 minutes.
The game became a tale of two halves as Denver dominated possession in the opening stanza with six different Pioneers finding the back of the net for a 6-2 advantage at halftime. Georgetown responded on the backend after cutting into the lead at 7-6 with 10:22 remaining.
The Hoyas tied the game at 8-8 on Kate Snouffer's goal with 2:11 to play and a timely draw taken by redshirt-sophomore Kennedy Milburn gave possession to the Pioneers in the final minutes. With the shot clock running down, an errant pass found its way into the center of the storm as members from both sides scrambled to grab the ball.
Derry found her way into the mix and picked up the ball just outside the eight-meter arc and rifled a shot past Fisher with 30 seconds remaining in the game to put DU on top in dramatic fashion. Georgetown picked up the following draw in hopes of another chance to tie, but a lockdown Denver defense ensured a final shot would not go off as the Pioneers moved on to the BIG EAST Championship game.
The 9-8 final is the lowest in a BIG EAST tournament game since the 2014 title match between Louisville and Georgetown, a game that saw the top-seeded Cardinals move past the second-seeded Hoyas, also at 9-8.
DU will face Florida in the title game on Saturday, May 6, with opening draw set for 12:30 p.m. MT. The game with broadcast live on FS2.
Fans interested in making a donation to the women's lacrosse program can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
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