The DU women’s lacrosse team is now just two wins from perfection.
The undefeated Pioneers rode their trademark defense, and clutch fourth-period goals from Julia Gilbert and Kayla DeRose, to a stunning come-from-behind 5-4 victory over fourth-seeded North Carolina on its own turf Thursday afternoon at Dorrance Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Head coach Liza Kelly’s fifth-seeded Pios rallied from a 4-1 second-period deficit, holding the high-powered Tar Heels attack scoreless over the final 35 minutes, 22 seconds, to advance to the NCAA Tournament Final Four for the first time.
DU, now 22-0, will face the winner of Thursday night’s game between No. 1 Northwestern and No. 8 Loyola Maryland on Friday, May 26, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
The Tar Heels (16-5) came into Thursday’s Elite Eight matchup averaging 14.6 goals per game. But against a DU defense that’s the stingiest in the nation, they struggled to maintain possession or score on DU goaltender Emelia Bohi, who stopped 5 of 9 shots on goal.
North Carolina turned the ball over 15 times and had just 15 total shots, less than half its season overage (31). DU’s Sam Thacker and Gracie DeRose had three caused turnovers apiece.
Kayla DeRose and Gilbert scored two goals apiece, all coming during a run of four unanswered scores to close out the game. Ryan Dineen scored the other goal for the Pios to start things off in the first period.
DeRose began the rally with an unassisted goal with 2:03 left in the first half. Gilbert scored off a Dineen assist for the lone goal of the third period, then added another tally off a free position shot to tie things up at 4-all with 8:12 to go.
Less than two minutes later, DeRose netted the game-winner, as the Pios’ beat North Carolina for the first time in five tries.
This story will be updated.
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