Senior leadership & on-field IQ Pace the Pioneers down the stretch

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

Pace is defined as the rate of movement or progress. Fittingly enough, it is the surname of the University of Denver Pioneers’ meticulous senior midfielder Tyler Pace. Pace has been an integral component of Denver lacrosse’s lineup throughout his career for the Crimson and Gold.

“Tyler is a four-year starter for us. From day-one he has been a guy that has just been ahead of the game when it comes to lacrosse IQ and understanding the game,” Head Coach Bill Tierney said. “Understanding what his skillset combined with Coach [Matt] Brown’s offense can do to a defense more so than a lot of the guys who just are robots; they just do what they’re told. Tyler really understands why we’re doing things and how to take advantage of the other team’s defense.”

The Coquitlam, British Columbia native never deviated from his middie position. The sport of lacrosse is all the 22-year old has known: “I was like three years old, picked up a stick, enjoyed it and never looked back.”

In his past three seasons Pace has amassed 131 points on 69 goals and 62 assists. Besides his freshman season (where he was sixth), Pace has always been in the top-five of Denver’s leaderboard.

Pace’s senior year, however, took an unexpected turn. The four-year starter didn’t join Denver’s lineup until four games into the 2017 season against North Carolina on March 4, due to injuries he suffered playing box lacrosse over the summer.

“I came back from the summer with a couple of bad injuries that set me back about 10-12 weeks so getting into game-shape was tough,” Pace said. “Then having Zach [Miller] leave was obviously tough on our midfield. We’ve got guys like Connor Donahue and Colton Jackson who have really stepped up their games in a big way to fill that void and have given me the opportunity to play the way that I have for four years now.”

At 6-foot-0, 180-pounds, Pace’s finesse compliments his linemates’ power and energy as they breakdown the oppositions’ defense as a congruent unit.

“I think it’s important for each line to have a different dynamic among their players,” Pace said.” We’ve got Colton [Jackson] , who’s more of the jam it down your throat, run hard shoot hard, typical American player. Then you’ve got Connor [Donahue] who is pretty dynamic and squirmy. He gets shots and gets open looks. I’m more of a guy who is going to talk through each play and just help us get a better chance to get a goal in that possession.”

Since returning, Pace has compiled 13 points on 9 goals and four assists in his seven appearances.

With two regular season games remaining before the BIG EAST Tournament and then the NCAA Tournament, Pace understands the reality of his numbered days playing for DU.

“It’s just been another season for me. I don’t think until it’s over, I’ll really think about it being my last kick of the can,” Pace said. “I think the crazier part is seeing some of the freshmen come in, they’re 18-, 19-years old and I’m about to graduate. Just knowing the road they have ahead of them and how exciting it’s going to be. So instead of being sad it’s over for us I’m excited for the next group of guys to exceed as well.”

“Whenever you win a championship and make a good run you’ve got to have good senior leadership. And we need [Pace] to do that,” Tierney said.