Pioneers win defensive struggle over Towson on the road, continue to build postseason resume

Photo credit: Towson Athletics

It’s never too early to start thinking about the postseason and NCAA Tournament in collegiate men’s lacrosse. The season is so short that every win and loss matters more than in almost any other sport. For the #13 Denver Pioneers, a team that has lacked a signature, resume-building win this season, a matchup with the #8 Towson Tigers in Maryland presented a golden opportunity. Denver seized that opportunity won a close, defensive game 7-6 and added a key victory to their resume.

Towson was ranked as high as #1 earlier this season and will no doubt be a major national factor over the last month and a half of the regular season. After a tough loss against Notre Dame in California two weeks ago, this win for the Pioneers, punctuated by eight saves by Alex Ready and 20 Towson turnovers, was important to get them back on track.

As well as both defenses played, Ted Sullivan was able to find his offensive touch tallying a hat trick and an assist on 10 shots. Even star attackman Ethan Walker was only able to notch a single goal on seven shots. At the X, freshman FOGO Brett Boos only went 5-for-17 but Denver’s stifling transition defense and great wing play mitigated the effects of 12 lost faceoffs. Maryland transfer D Matt Neufeldt led the way on that front grabbing a game-high five ground balls.

Denver plays Princeton in New Jersey on Tuesday before returning home next weekend to open BIG EAST play against Georgetown. The BIG EAST is projected to be fairly weak this year. Had Denver lacked this type of signature win over Towson, it would have been very difficult for the Pioneers to make the NCAA Tournament without winning the BIG EAST, something they have not done since winning the national title in 2015. This win, of course, does not guarantee the Pioneers will make The Dance without a conference title but it absolutely helps.

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One thought on “Pioneers win defensive struggle over Towson on the road, continue to build postseason resume”

  1. Posted this over at Fanlax board, but it bears repeating here. This was a very mature fourth quarter performance by the Pios in what may be a season-saving, 7-6 road win over Towson.

    The Pioneers (and Tigers) were both very sloppy offensively all day and both teams played great defense. But after a sub-standard performance in the first three quarters for the Pios, the fourth quarter was all DU. The Pios scored all of the three goals they needed, and kept Towson from scoring, turning a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 victory. That’s what good teams do at crunch time on the road, and the Pios got it done.

    In a game where Austin French, Ethan Walker, Ellis Geis and Colton Jackson were almost non-factors, it was Teddy Sullivan who stepped up with three alley-dodge goals to lead the Pio attack, including the game-winner in the final minutes. Sullivan took big advantage of a short-stick defenders on all DU three goals, and if I was Shawn Nadelen, I probably would have adjusted with a pole to defend Sullivan in the final quarter, but that adjustment never came. Game over.

    Honestly, while I loved the DU win, I must say the DU offense looked pretty awful for much of the game. Credit Towson’s defense and fine goaltending for much of DU’s disfunction, but this did not look like Matt Brown’s offense. DU continues to shoot poorly and look out of synch for large stretches. If DU has ambitions of playoff success, let’s hope they can find some more offensive chemistry…

    So now Tierney goes for win #400 against his old Princeton team on Tuesday. Pios will need to be better if they expect to win, because you know Princeton is going to be jacked up for this game. Go Pios!

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