Photo courtesy DU Athletics
They had to make it special right? 100 career victories with a program is an important mark for a coach of any program and today, #1 University of Denver head coach Bill Tierney eclipsed that mark for the second time in his career with a 12-0 win over the Canisius College Golden Griffins.
Yes, you read that correctly. Denver did shut out Canisius at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium this afternoon, a day after topping Cleveland State 19-6. Not only was the victory Tierney’s 100th at the helm of the DU men’s lacrosse program, he is the only coach to reach 100 career victories in his first 140 games with two different programs. He accomplished the feat with Princeton.
“I’m blessed,” Tierney said. “I’m blessed to have been at Princeton and I’m blessed to be here at Denver and hopefully there’s another 100 left in me. But when you reach those kind of milestones, it really makes you think of all the great kids who played for you. It’s special and a lot of people are a part of that.”
Today’s victory was marked by stout defense and methodical offensive destruction. It wasn’t the offensive outburst that Denver fans have been accustomed to seeing this year, but DU took a measured approach on offense to find and exploit the weaknesses in Canisius’ defense.
“I thought the defense was fabulous again,” Tierney said. “We talk a lot about Coach Brown and the offense, Coach Orson is a fabulous coach. We did five days of scouting and preparation work after breakfast this morning. I thought everybody played really well.”
Through the first quarter, Denver only managed to score once, but as it turned out, Connor Flynn’s was the only goal they’d need all day. Eight other scorers added 11 more goals over the remainder of the game for good measure.
Trevor Baptiste was named the Faceoff Classic MVP as he went 11-for-14 at the X today. He didn’t manage to score a goal, but he was a difference maker against Canisius. One of the key reasons the Pioneers were able to keep the Griffins off the scoreboard was their possession dominance. Possession starts at the X and Baptiste made all the difference today.
Not everything was perfect, though. Denver only went 3-for-9 on their extra man opportunities. Poor man-up efficiency has never been a hallmark of Bill Tierney and Matt Brown coached teams. Canisius kept giving Denver chances to score with the extra man, but Denver just couldn’t convert.
“We were 3-for-9 statistically, but it was a little bit askew,” Tierney said of his man up offense. “We scored one at the end with our second guys and one on a 5 on 4. But we need to improve on our special teams, there’s no question about that.”
However, with defending champion North Carolina coming in next weekend, this was a very encouraging performance on both sides of the ball. Denver dominated both Cleveland State and Canisius like they were supposed to. Now, with North Carolina and Notre Dame next on the schedule, the tuneups are over and we’re about to find out just how good Denver really is.
“We know how [UNC] feels,” Tierney said. “Last year, coming in, you’re the defending national champs, everybody wants a piece of you, everybody wants to give you their best shot. They’re a good team. It looks like they had a little trouble scoring against Hopkins, but I know they’re going to come and they’re going to bring their best.”
Of note, Connor Cannizzaro left the game early with an apparent head injury. Tierney said after the game that he was cleared by team doctors to return to the game, but the kept him out as a precaution. He should be back for UNC next weekend.