Denver falls to Georgetown to BIG EAST title game for second straight year

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

DENVER – Just two days after they played their best, most dominant game of the season in a 17-11 victory in the BIG EAST semifinals, the top-seeded Denver Pioneers laid an egg against the reigning BIG EAST champion Georgetown Hoyas in a 12-9 loss. While the championship game loss didn’t end their season a year ago, barring a shocking decision on the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s part, Denver’s season is over.

Two nights ago, Denver got out to a hot start against the Villanova Wildcats. They played shutdown defense and sent wave after wave toward the Villanova crease and the Wildcats couldn’t find an answer. This afternoon, the Pioneers did a complete 180. Denver couldn’t stop the Georgetown attack as the Hoyas scored on each of their first seven shots on goal while the Pioneers couldn’t find a way to solve Georgetown goalie Chris Brandau.

Denver found a bit of momentum early in the second half to pull back to within one thanks to three straight goals from Jack Hannah, Ethan Walker, and Quinn McKone, but that was as close as the Pioneers would get. The Hoyas adjusted to the Pioneers’ new-found attack efficiency and grabbed control of the game once again.

In all, it was a fitting end to a disappointing season for the Pioneers who will miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Bill Tierney took over the program. The Pioneers struggled to find any sustained momentum throughout the year and failed to earn the always-important “signature victory.” Denver was an inconsistent team all year and Georgetown was able to exploit that in the championship game to end DU’s season.

There will be plenty of time to diagnose just what exactly went wrong for the Pioneers over the next eight months but for now, for the players and coaching staff, this stings. The University of Denver put this city on the lacrosse map and made it a hotbed and while losing in the conference title game and missing the NCAA Tournament doesn’t change that, it is extremely frustrating to fall short like this. With Bill Tierney at the helm, the Pioneers will not be down long but you can be sure that he and his staff will fully diagnose what went wrong and make the necessary changes before the 2020 season begins.

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