Trevor Baptiste Becomes DU’s Greatest Face-off Man, Leads Pios to 20-11 Big East win over Georgetown

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It was the Trevor Baptiste record-setting show, as the junior from Denville, N.J. set a DU career record and tied another to lead the Denver Pioneers to a 20-11 Big East League men’s lacrosse victory over the Georgetown Hoyas before a sellout crowd on a dreary gray day at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

Baptiste became the University of Denver’s all-time face-off leader in just his junior year, setting the school record with 736 wins in passing DU legends Chase Carraro and Geoff Snider, going 26-for-30 on the day.  The possession advantage Baptiste created helped the Pioneers to season high 20 goal output, the most DU has scored since 2012.  The Pioneers had a balanced attack behind 11 different goal scorers, but the 4-goal, 5-assist assist performance from senior All American Connor Cannizzaro led the way offensively with nine points, moving him into a tie for 3rd place all time in DU scoring with Todd Dickson (199 points), and behind Mark Matthews (216 points) and Wes Berg’s 255 career points.

Baptiste also tied Ben Wahler’s 2008 school record with his 26 face-off wins on the day and moved into ninth place on the all time NCAA career lacrosse face-off winners list – incredible for a player only two-thirds of his way through his junior season. He also picked up 17 ground balls on the day, and even scored a goal.

“Baptiste was so tenacious,” said DU coach Bill Tierney of his face-off star after the game. “He did so many different moves against five different face off [opponents]…we’re glad he’s on our side.”

Indeed the only way the Hoyas could even slow Baptiste was to put all three long pole players into the face-off play, which Georgetown did in the second half.

The Pioneers (7-2 overall, 1-0 Big East) broke open a close 8-6 halftime lead with an eight goals, including seven unanswered in a dominant 11 minutes of the third quarter to  delight another sellout home crowd and put away the somewhat snakebit Hoyas, who fell to 2-8 on the season, and 0-1 in Big East pay.

“I was little emotional at halftime,” Tierney said, referring to what was likely a paint-peeling halftime address to his Pioneers, who were sloppy and sluggish with too many turnovers and some lazy play in the first half.  “We weren’t playing well in the first half, but we were scoring goals and winning face-offs…We needed to make sure we got a good convincing win and we did that.”

Besides Baptiste’s dominance at the X, Sophomore goalie Alex Ready woke up from a tough 3-save first half to make four third quarter saves to help change the momentum of the game to finish with seven saves on the day.

Daniel Buccaro was the top offensive bright spot for Georgetown, with a three goal hat trick to go with three assists on the day.

The Pioneers stay home in Denver this week to face Big East rival Villanova next Saturday at 12 pm MT.