Pioneers finish strong, ready for BIG EAST Tournament runs

The #2 University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse and #16 University of Denver Women’s Lacrosse teams face Marquette and Georgetown respectively in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals today. The men will be at Chapey Field in Providence, the one in Rhode Island and the women will play at Villanova Stadium in Philadelphia.

Both teams have taken similar trajectories over their last five games. The Denver men are 5-0 while the DU women are 4-1 with their only loss a narrow defeat to Georgetown (9-7) on the road.

Denver men have lit up the scoreboard down the stretch by scoring an average of 16.4 goals per game while allowing just 8.8 goals. A rapidly improving Alex Ready has a 56% save %, stopping 48 shots while allowing 37 goals. Four players have scored double digits with Connor Cannizzaro, BIG EAST Co-Attackman of the Year, with 15 goals and 9 assists. Ethan Walker, BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, is close behind with 14 goals and 16 assists. Austin French is gaining steam the final third of the season with 11 goals and 8 assists. Colton Jackson has also chipped in 10 goals and 2 assists. BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year, Trevor Baptiste, is winning an incredible 74.1% of the faceoffs (106/143) during the same five-game stretch.

The Denver women are scoring 15.6 goals per game over the last five and have given up a miserly 6.6 tallies per game. Goalie Maddie Stevenson has a 46% save %, saving 28 shots while giving up 33 goals over the past five games. Three players are in double digits. Julia Feiss has 17 goals and seven assists, Elizabeth Behrins has 13 goals and three assists, and Emily Conway has 13 goals and one assist. Kendra Lanuza leads the squad in assists with 13 and has chipped in with seven goals over the last five contests. Denver is winning 44% of draw-controls.

If the Denver men defeat Marquette for the second time in six days, they are likely to face Villanova in the tournament final. With the DU men the only BIG EAST team assured of making the national tournament, they will be facing desperate squads over the next few days. Denver is trying to secure a top-4 seed and earn a home game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

On the women’s side, if DU exacts revenge on Georgetown, they are likely to face a tough Florida (#2/15-2) squad in the BIG EAST finals. The DU women sit squarely on the bubble and likely must win both games to make the NCAA tournament.

DU Men’s Lacrosse faces Marquette at 2:30 pm MT at Providence (CBSSN, AM1600 Denver, GAMETRACKER, & PioneerVision) while the DU women play Georgetown at 5:00 pm MT at Villanova Stadium (Live Stream, BIG EAST Digital, & GAMETRACKER).

One thought on “Pioneers finish strong, ready for BIG EAST Tournament runs”

  1. At this time of year, the seniors need to really step up and lead. Marquette is playing for its season today, and coach Amplo knows how to adjust to DU, as the Golden Eagles beat DU in the similar situation last season, when DU beat MU in the last game of the season and upset the Pios in the Bg East final a week later. That said, this Marquette team is not as deep as last years team, and DU will be ready for them, as Tierney also knows how to adjust. Villanova is a scary opponent with a great offense – as good as DU’s. But Villanova’s defense and face-off are not as strong, and the Pioneers should be able to close them out. Providence is a wild card – DU throttled them in Denver, but playing at home, you never know. Expect close games this weekend, as these teams all know each other.

    The DU women, unfortunately, have a tougher road ahead. I think they are better than Georgetown, and should get a measure of revenge today by beating the Hoyas in Philadelphia. Playing Florida in the Big East final would be a great opportunity for the Pios, but DU has never beaten the Gators, and the games between the two teams are rarely even close, as there seems to be a serious talent gap between the top 3-4 teams in the country and everyone else. For DU to beat Florida would be a huge, huge upset, so making the NCAA tourney is unlikely this season for DU. All that said, this was a strong year for DU, and their best players are underclassmen, so there is next year to look forward to if the Pios’ season ends at Villanova this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s