Denver Beats UC Davis to Advance to MPSF Championship

DENVER The No. 18 Pioneers advanced to the championship game of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament after defeating UC Davis 14-9 in the semifinals on Friday evening at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

The Pioneers, who lost to UC Davis in the quarterfinals of the MPSF tournament last year, were led by Ali Flury (Arnold, Md.), Bonnie Wells (Adelaide, Australia) and the 2010 MPSF Newcomer of the Year Kara Secora (Denver, Colo.) who each scored three goals. Lauren Ciccomascolo (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) recorded two goals and two assists, while Lexi Sanders (Greenwood Village, Colo.) scored one goal and assisted on three.

"We're very excited to have gotten the win against a strong UC Davis team," head coach Liza Kelly said. "I think our nerves got the better of us through some of the game, but we played hard against a tough team, and we are happy to be playing for the championship on Sunday."

Denver built a 9-4 lead going into the half as Flury and Secora each had a hat trick, while Wells, Sanders and Ciccomascolo added tallies of their own. The Aggies outscored Denver 5-2 to shrink the Pioneer lead to 11-9 with 6:00 left to play. But, a free position goal by Ciccomascolo a minute later and two tallies from Wells sealed the 14-9 victory for DU.

Goalkeeper Ashley Harman (Boyertown, Pa.) made 10 saves in the victory as the Pioneers outshot UC Davis 35-22. Flury's six caused turnovers tied a season high set by Carrie Gamper (Towson, Md.) against Loyola on March 3.

No. 18 Denver will face No. 15 Stanford, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the tournament, respectively, in the MPSF championship game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. MT at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The game will mark the fourth time in the past five years that the Pioneers and Cardinal will meet in the MPSF Championship game, and Stanford will look for its sixth title.

The winner of the MPSF Championship will host Atlantic 10 Champion UMass on Sat., May 8.

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DENVER, Colo. -- Redshirt freshman and MPSF Newcomer of the Year honoree Kara Secora scored three first-half goals to help top-seeded Denver protect a 10-4 lead en route to a 14-9 victory over UC Davis in the semifinal round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women's lacrosse tournament at Peter Barton Stadum Friday evening.

The Aggies finish their season at 11-6, compiling their highest win total since 2004. The Pioneers, ranked No. 18 in the most recent deBeer/Inside Lacrosse media poll, improve to 13-4 overall.

Senior Molly Lapolla led UC Davis with three goals and an assist. Freshman Elizabeth Datino added two goals and an assist, while junior Gina Hoffmire posted a 2-0-2 line. Freshman Hannah Mirza and senior Britt Farquharson each had a goal to round out the Aggie scoring. Junior Lauren Boyle tallied four caused turnovers on defense.

For host DU, Ali Flury and Bonnie Wells each posted hat tricks to match Secora's total. Sophomore attacker Lauren Ciccomascolo recorded two goals and two assists, while senior Lexi Sanders led all players with three assists.

The Aggies fought back from a 3-0 hole to creep to within a 4-3 deficit with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. But the Pioneers scored five of the next six before the break to hold a 9-4 halftime break, then Sanders assisted Tulley Stapp minutes into the second half to extend the DU lead to six.

Hoffmire and Lapolla each netted two goals during the next 20 minutes of play to pull UC Davis to a two-goal shortfall with six minutes remaining. However, the Aggies never cut further into the Denver lead -- the Pioneers scored three straight goals down the stretch and won the subsequent draw on each, preventing UC Davis from crossing the offensive restraining line.

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