Photo: Courtesy of Indianasportscoverage.com
The recently released men’s lacrosse schedule (below) has some interesting takeaways.
- Bill Tierney means it when he says he want to grow the game of lacrosse in the west. He has taken an RPI risk by scheduling a new program (Utah) and a relatively new program (Cleveland State). The Pioneers play Utah this season in the Utes’ first D1 lacrosse campaign. Utah lacrosse is almost certain to become a natural regional rival for Denver. Tierney has family connections to Cleveland as Vikings head coach Dylan Sheridan is married to his daughter Brianne. The Pios and Vikings will meet for a second straight year in Denver. However, there is no doubt that one of the major reasons he scheduled these contest was to grow the programs’ visibility in non-traditional areas.
- 26-0 in regular season in BIG EAST play? That is ridiculous. Sometimes it is easy to take winning streaks for granted but a conference winning streak this long over four seasons is an incredible accomplishment. The Pioneers, as usual, will have targets on their back every BIG EAST contest. This season will be no exception.
- In a relatively short period of time, the Denver-Duke-Notre Dame round-robin has become an annual treat for fans with top coaches (Tierney, John Danowski, Kevin Corrigan) and star players. This season features Denver’s Colton Jackson and Ethan Walker while Notre Dame hits the field with proven stars Brendan Gleason and John Sexton. While Duke recently graduated stars such as Justin Guterding and Danny Fowler, there are certain to be new impact players to emerge for the Blue Devils this season as well. As usual, top 10 rankings and NCAA Tournament positioning will be on the line in these games. These have become mark-your-calendars contests every season under Bill Tierney.
- While the overall schedule is good, the home schedule is a disappointment, especially early, for the second year in a row. After Air Force, Cleveland State, and Utah at Denver in late February, the Pioneers go on the road for a full month before returning to Peter Barton to begin BIG EAST play. The Pacific Coast Shootout is in Costa Mesa, California – a hotbed for Notre Dame and DU alumni. And the showcase will give both schools visibility to the growing pool of lacrosse recruits in California. But a month without home games? Ouch.
- How will the new 80-second shot clock suit Denver’s offense? The offensive motion-around-the-horn strategy employed by Denver will likely need to be shortened and the Pioneers may need to rely on more fast breaks and winning 1-on-1 battles this upcoming. The Duke contest in Durham on February 16th will be an early test with the Blue Devils typical ball pressure and solid defense. It will be interesting to see how the Pioneers respond under the new rules.
What are your takeaways heading into the 2019 season?
2019 @DU_MLAX schedule:
Notre Dame (Costa Mesa, CA)
@ Ohio St.
@ St. John's
— LetsGoDU (@LetsGoDU) November 13, 2018