After a historic, record-breaking season in 2013, the University of Denver women’s lacrosse team is hopeful that the 2014 season will bring many more triumphs. After making their first NCAA appearance and win, the team is more than motivated and ready to take the necessary steps to put DU on the map, yet again.
Denver enters 2014 without some of its most successful athletes in program history. Graduating seniors Kate Henrich (Lansdale, Pa.) and Kara Secora (Denver, Colo.) helped DU have its most successful season, finishing 18-3 with an undefeated conference record, including a 14-7 win over Jacksonville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Last year, Henrich led the nation in caused turnovers (70), caused turnover average (3.33) and ground balls (65). Henrich graduated with the 170 career caused turnovers, tied for third-best in NCAA history. Secora graduated as DU’s all-time leading scorer with 272 points off 166 goals and 106 assists.
The returning senior players are an intriguing group because the majority of them have played for DU since their freshmen year, which was an incredibly tough season finishing 7-11 overall. Their challenging beginnings at Denver no doubt prepared the Pioneers for any obstacle that might come their way. Despite a difficult first season, the ladies have proved to be strong players that can face any challenge.
“We built a solid foundation, a love of the game, and developed great leaders,” said head coach Liza Kelly.
Returning seniors are Meredith Harris (Middleburg, Va.), Annabelle Gilbride (Alexandria, Va.), Sonorah Vinyard (Denver, Colo.) and Jenn Etzel (Bel Air, Md.).
Vinyard came to Denver in a roundabout way, starting her college career at Rocky Mountain Community College before transferring to DU. She finally had the opportunity to start for the Pioneers last year and proved to be a strong asset, recording 27 caused turnovers, which ranked 56th nationally. Additionally, Vinyard’s 30 ground balls was the second-most on the 2013 Pioneer squad.
“This is just the best success I’ve seen in a while,” said Kelly. “Sonorah has gone from a wild card to one of our strongest players. I couldn’t be more proud of what she has accomplished already.”