GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville fell for the second consecutive year to Denver in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament by the score of 12-8 Friday afternoon in Gainesville, Florida.
The Dolphins (14-6) made their second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Atlantic Sun Championship again.
The Dolphins got off to the perfect start as they controlled the two opening draws and scored to lead 2-0. Brittany Orashen scored two in the first five minutes to build the lead. Then Denver (19-1) scored three times to retake control of the game. What ensued was an entertaining back and forth battle in the opening half between the familiar foes. The Pioneers scored with four seconds left in the half to take a 8-6 lead into the break.
In the second half Denver's defense began to take over the game and not allow Jacksonville's offense to gain any momentum. The Dolphins scored only one goal in the opening 25 minutes of the second half, and the Pioneers extended the lead to 12-7. Holly Ventimiglia scored the final goal of the Dolphin's season to make the final score 12-8 in favor of Denver.
Denver now moves on to face the Florida Gators in the next round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. For the Dolphins the season ends at the same point it did last year.
Brittany Orashen led all players with four goals. The Pioneers had a balanced attack as four players scored two or more goals each. Hannah Hook made eight saves for Denver, while Asia Moore picked up four saves for the Dolphins.