After scoring 8 goals in the first quarter, the Denver Pioneers lacrosse team held off the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays to win 14-10 in their final exhibition game of the 2016 season. While this game didn’t officially matter, Bill Tierney and his staff has a lot to talk about and build on heading into the season opener at Air Force on February 13th.
The first quarter was dominated by the Pioneers. Trevor Baptiste didn’t lose a faceoff (10/10) and DU’s defense didn’t allow a Johns Hopkins shot on goal until the 14:53 mark of the first quarter. DU opened the scoring just 1:07 into the game with a goal by Jack Bobzien.
At that point, DU was off to the races and scored 7 more goals before the Blue Jays could even muster a shot on goal. Nate Marano and Connor Cannizzaro both scored twice in the opening frame.
“I’m thrilled with the start,” DU head coach Bill Tierney said. “I’m proud of the guys.”
Finally, with just 7 seconds left in the first quarter Ryan Brown put the Jays on the scoreboard when he beat DU goalie Alex Ready. Throughout the first quarter, Denver constantly made the #5 Johns Hopkins lacrosse team look worse than their ranking indicated.
As soon as the first quarter ended, it appeared that DU was going to cruise to a surprisingly easy victory over the 5th ranked team in the country. Unfortunately for DU, after their first 8 goals, Johns Hopkins had much of the better play as they outscored DU 10-6 in the last 45 minutes of the game.
“In the second quarter, [Johns Hopkins] adjusted,” Tierney said. “They’re a great coaching staff. We had to adjust to their adjustments.”
Throughout the rest of the game, Denver held JHU at bay, but it didn’t always come easy, especially defensively. “Some errors keep coming up over and over again on the defensive end,” Tierney said. “We just [need to] straighten them out.”
The second half was controlled by the Blue Jays for the most part. They outscored Denver 4-3 in the final two quarters. Denver held more possession time in the second half, but their lack of ball security allowed JHU to stay within striking distance.
If it weren’t for the strong play by goalies Ready, Joe Gigantiello, and Hunter Krout, there is a good chance the Blue Jays would have at least come back and tied the game. It seemed that they were coming up with save after save, especially in the second half to keep Johns Hopkins from gaining any kind of sustained momentum.
In the end, the game doesn’t count for anything other than bragging rights, but there are a lot of things Tierney and his staff will be looking to improve upon before they travel to Colorado Springs in two weeks to take on Air Force.
“Anything that’s new for freshmen, you have to treat them how to handle it,” Tierney said.
You can count on there being many teaching points coming in practice over the next two weeks. As defending national champions, DU will be taking teams’ best shots week in, week out all season long. Preparation in practice every week will be what keeps Denver on track and on their way to defending their championship.
Freshman Nate Marano was a key star of the game for DU as he scored 4 goals and added an assist; #14 Jeremy Bosher is wearing Wes Berg’s old number well as he contributed a goal and an assist in the winning effort; Connor Cannizzaro and Colin Woolford both added two goals; DU tallied 8 assists while JHU only managed 5; Johns Hopkins Wilkins Dismuke is the lone Blue Jay that hails from Colorado; DU has 11 players on its roster from the Centennial State.
at Air Force
US Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, CO
1:00 PM MT