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Women's Lacrosse Battles #17 Denver on Friday in MPSF Match-up

April 11, 2007

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This week the Saint Mary's women's lacrosse team will play two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation games. First, the Gaels will travel to Denver for a Friday afternoon game against the Denver Pioneers at 1 p.m., before returning home to face the Oregon Ducks on Sunday at noon.

Saint Mary's enters this week with a 3-8 overall record and are 0-1 in MPSF play. The Gaels are coming off an 18-10 win over Manhattan on Friday, which snapped a four-game losing skid. Denver enters Friday's game with a 12-2 overall record and a 2-0 standing in MPSF play. The Pioneers are currently ranked No. 17 in the country. Oregon enters this week with a 9-5 ledger and are tied with Denver for first place in the MPSF standings with a 2-0 record. Oregon will play at Cal on Saturday before playing at SMC on Sunday.

Denver is ranked No. 17 in the ILWCA Division I top-20 poll, which is down three spots from a No. 14 ranking a week ago. The Pioneers have won 11 of their last 12 games, only losing to No. 13 Johns Hopkins (15-13) on April 1. Denver picked up two MPSF wins last week by defeating Stanford (12-8) and UC Davis (12-5). The Pioneers are averaging 15.6 goals per game while allowing 8.9 goals per outing. The Pioneers are second in the country in scoring and 11th in scoring defense. Denver has six players that have tallied 20 or more points this season. Kristie Leggio leads the team with 76 points, tallying team-highs with 46 goals and 30 assists. Leggio is second in the country with 76 points, and her 5.43 points per game ranks third overall. Ali Flury has 44 goals and 10 assists, Karen Morton has 35 goals and 13 assists, Megan Carver has 29 goals and 11 assists, and Steph Coyne has 24 goals and 24 assists.

Friday's game between SMC and Denver will mark the 13th meeting all-time between the two schools. The Gaels are 4-8 overall against the Pioneers, with Denver winning the last six games of the series. The last SMC win was an 11-10 victory in the MPLL playoffs in 2002.

Oregon comes into this week with a 9-5 overall record following an 11-10 win over Lehigh on March 31. Prior to the win over Lehigh, Oregon was defeated by Stoney Brook (16-14) on March 30. The Ducks were ranked No. 20 for three weeks this season. Oregon is averaging 12.22 goals per game while its opponents are averaging 10.6 goals per outing. The Ducks are led by sophomore attacker Ilsa van den Berg and Theresa Waldron who have 36 points each. van den Berg is third on the team with 23 goals and is fourth on the squad with 13 assists. Waldron has 17 goals and a team-high 19 assists. Brooke Dieringer leads the team with 26 goals and Kate Fleming is second on the team with 24 goals.

When Saint Mary's and Oregon meet on Sunday it will mark the sixth meeting between the two schools. Oregon has won all five games, which have been played in the last two years. Oregon won all three games in 2005 and both games in 2006.

Last week the Gaels posted a 1-1 record with a loss to Davidson (17-10) and a win over Manhattan (18-10). The win over Manhattan snapped a four-game skid for the Gaels. P.J. Hainley tallied nine points on the weekend, after scoring a career-high five goals, with one assist, against Manhattan. Jackie Spencer also had nine points as she had four goals and an assist against Manhattan and three goals and an assist against Davidson. Alana Burrough played big for SMC against Manhattan as she had three goals and a game-high four assists against the Jaspers.

Through 11 games, Saint Mary's has six players that have double digits in points. Leading the list is P.J. Hainley, who has 28 points. Hainley leads the team with 10 assists and is second overall with 18 goals. Jackie Spencer is second on the squad with 26 points as she leads the team with 22 goals in 10 appearances. Freshman Abbie Coleman has 23 points with 14 goals and nine assists, Sonja Kapusta has 21 points on 15 goals and six assists and Jen Utley and Alana Burrough have 17 points each. Utley has 10 goals and seven assists and Burrough has nine goals and eight helpers.

Saint Mary's is ranked in the top-30 in two statistical categories. The Gaels are tied for the top spot in the country in ground balls and are ranked 27th overall in draw controls. Saint Mary's is averaging 24.91 ground balls per game and are tied with Mt. St. Mary's for the most in the nation. SMC has collected 104 draw controls this season, and the 9.45 average per game currently ranks 27th overall.

Senior midfielder Jackie Spencer ranks in the top-10 in all three offensive scoring categories. Spencer entered the season ranked fourth in total points with 87, third in goals with 70, and seventh in assists with 17. With her 26 points this season, she moved ahead of Molly Wagner for third place and now has 113 career points. Her 92 career goals are 41 behind Megan Bryan's second place total of 133. She will need one assist to match Thera Luce's career total of 22 assists, which ranks sixth.

Following the two MPSF games this week, Saint Mary's will have more than a week off before playing at California on April 24. The MPSF game between SMC and California will begin at 4 p.m. from Memorial Stadium on the Berkeley campus. Later that week, SMC will close the season at home against the UC Davis Aggies on Saturday, April 28. The MPSF game between SMC and UCD will begin at 1 p.m. on senior day at Saint Mary's Stadium.