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Fresno State’s Natalie Yorba (left) and Abigail Bergevin battle a pair of Denver defenders battle for a loose ball during Sunday’s conference matchup at the Soccer and Lacrosse Field. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

LAX: Fresno State starts fast in Game 1, comes to a halt in Game 2

Fresno State’s Natalie Yorba (left) and Abigail Bergevin battle a pair of Denver defenders battle for a loose ball during Sunday’s conference matchup at the Soccer and Lacrosse Field. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Fresno State’s Natalie Yorba (left) and Abigail Bergevin battle a pair of Denver Pioneers for a loose ball during Sunday’s conference matchup at the Soccer and Lacrosse Field. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

The Fresno State lacrosse team opened its 2016 campaign with a win Friday over Stetson, but its momentum stalled Sunday at the hands of the Denver Pioneers.

Sunday’s 15-3 conference loss to Denver saw the Bulldogs get outmatched and fall behind early. The Pioneers went on a 12-0 run to open the game before sophomore Lindsay Hobson scored a pair of goals to cut the lead to 10 entering the half.

The ‘Dogs’ halftime adjustments proved to slow DU’s offense, but their offense never broke through as they were outscored 3-1 at the half.

Rachael McKinnon and Christa Reese scored a combined seven goals to lead the Pioneers.

“We were off our game,” said Fresno State fifth-year head coach Jessica Giglio. “We could not match up physically, and it was a rough start. At halftime, we adjusted and talked about being more physical and playing with a sense of urgency. But, in order to hang with the stronger teams in our conference, we have to play strong from the start.”

Friday’s match had been different story as the ‘Dogs dominated the Stetson Hatters 14-6 behind a solid all-around effort.

Sophomore Nicole Ortlieb and junior team captain Caroline Dineen-Carlson powered the Bulldogs’ offense with four and three goals, respectively.

“I think I played a good game today,” Dineen-Carlson said. “It was our first game so I focused on being more calm and collected, and I think that benefit me.”

Friday also featured the Greek Night promotion that drew a good-sized crowd for the team’s season opener.

“When the Red Wave comes out, it makes us feel excited,” Giglio said. “It was a great night. We were able to feel the crowd and feed off the energy. It was awesome playing in Bulldog Stadium but this [setting] is much more intimate for us and it feeds the girls. The crowd is like or sixth man in basketball terms.”

Last year’s team set a new program record for most single-season wins with four, and that has injected some high expectations into this year’s team.

“Our goal is conference playoffs,” Giglio said. “It’s something that we’ve set our sights on, and we’re going to be relentless this season in trying to get our goals met.”