Freshmen steal show in Pioneers’ dominant season opening win over Air Force

Photo credit: Jason Evans

DENVER – From the opening faceoff to the final buzzer, the #8 Denver Pioneers’ highly-touted freshman class showed the lacrosse world why the Pios are going to be a force to be reckoned with in a dominant 11-4 victory over in-state rival Air Force. Freshmen Ellis Geis and FOGO Brett Boos were the stars of the Pioneers’ show this afternoon against the Falcons. Geis tallied a hat trick while Boos went 15/19 at the X in their respective collegiate debuts at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

For a team with two very large question marks looming over their heads in how will Denver replace the greatest faceoff specialist in the history of the sport and how will the Pioneers adjust to the new 80-second shot clock, this was about as great a start to the 2019 season as Denver could have asked for. It was by no means perfect as the Pios turned the ball over 15 times and struggled to clear in the second half but overall, Denver played the way they expected to and may have exceeded some expectations in some key areas.

After Boos’ performances last weekend against Delaware in Denver’s scrimmage and today against Air Force, the question is no longer if the Pioneers can find a worthy heir to Baptiste but whether Boos can keep his hot start going over the long term.

Freshman FOGO Brett Boos faces off against Air Force FOGO Trent Harper (Credit: Jason Evans)

That other question, though? The one about the shot clock? Well, let’s put it this way. The media worried more about it than Coach T did. And the game against Air Force showed why. For a team that was predicated on a slow, methodical offense that emphasized shot quality over shot quantity, the shot clock didn’t appear to bother the Pioneers much at all. Denver only had one shot clock violation all game and it was thanks to a great defensive effort by Air Force rather than a laborious offensive shift by Denver.

In short, Denver answered those two major preseason questions with resounding confidence against Air Force today and it was thanks in large part to great efforts from Denver’s freshman class. From Geis’ hat trick to Boos’ heroics at the X to midfielder Alex Simmons’ calming influence running the offense, the freshmen really did steal the show.

With an important trip to Durham, North Carolina for a key nonconference date with the #2 Duke University Blue Devils looming next weekend, it was important for the Pioneers to get off to a fast start against Air Force today to build some major confidence. Denver played about as well as they could have against the Falcons today. The offense was clicking, the defense was stifling, and the freshmen carried the day. This is a great start and the quest for title #2 is off to a running start.

Postgame Quotes

Brett Boos & Ellis Geis:

Coach Tierney: