DU women’s lacrosse team uses underdog mentality to drive them in NCAA tourney

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University of Denver campus (Photo: KDVR)

DENVER (KDVR) — A Big East tournament title was rightfully earned by the University of Denver’s women’s lacrosse team. It was Denver’s first Big East tournament championship. On top of that, the Pioneers have only lost once this season, but they’ve been pushed going into triple overtime with UConn back in April as well as double overtime with Marquette. 

“I think every game gives you different lessons and experiences, and I felt like we were in a really good spot to know how to win,” said coach Liza Kelly, DU women’s lacrosse head coach.

Out of all the teams in the country, DU is one of three teams with only one loss, besides undefeated North Carolina, and Stanford, but the Pioneers are not even ranked in the top 10.

“We started the season ranked 14th in the country and we lose one game, and we couldn’t get in the top 20 until this week,” said Kelly. “For us, it’s more of a disrespect issue, and we feel like we are a solid team and get overlooked.” 

This underdog mentality is not the only thing driving the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament. 

“The Big East was just one of our goals, but our ultimate goal is a National Championship,” said Eliza Radochonski. “The way we look at each day is how can we get better? Is it small? Individually or as a team aspect.”

In the first round, DU will face a familiar face in Stanford. 

“It’s really funny to get Stanford because this is the first year in 15 that we haven’t played Stanford, and that is all because of COVID-19 issues because we were supposed to go out there and open with them,” said Kelly. 

This is the DU women’s lacrosse team’s fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament. If the Pioneers win on Friday, they will take on Northwestern on Sunday. 

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