DU Men’s Lacrosse Schedule: Duke & North Carolina to make trek to Denver

Photo courtesy of DU Athletics

On Thursday, the University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse program was the first Division I lacrosse program to release its 2020 schedule. Just a few months removed from missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Bill Tierney took over the program in 2009, the Pioneers revealed another tough, exciting schedule, especially at home. The Pios’ 2020 schedule features two perennial powers – Duke & North Carolina – returning to Denver for the first time since 2017.

Denver’s full 13-game (14 with the exhibition) 2020 schedule is below (key matchups in bold) and season tickets can be ordered here:

  • Feb. 1: vs. Delaware (Exh.)
  • Feb. 8: at Air Force
  • Feb. 15: vs. Duke
  • Feb. 22: vs. St. Bonaventure (Face-Off Classic)
  • Feb. 23: vs. Cleveland St. (Face-Off Classic)
  • Mar. 1: vs. North Carolina
  • Mar. 7: at Notre Dame
  • Mar. 15: at Ohio State
  • Mar. 21: vs. Towson
  • Mar. 28: at Georgetown
  • Apr. 4: at Villanova
  • Apr. 11: vs. St. John’s
  • Apr. 18: at Providence
  • Apr. 24: vs. Marquette

The last time Duke and North Carolina came to Denver, in 2017, the Pioneers beat the Blue Devils but lost to UNC. But in 2018 and 2019 when the Pios traveled east for these matchups, the results flipped with Denver topping the Tar Heels but falling to Duke, including an instant classic, last-second loss in Durham last year. These matchups always seem to bring out the best lacrosse these programs have to offer and this year certainly will be no different. All three teams are expected to be among the best teams in the country and you should not plan to miss them.

Beyond the marquee matchups against Duke and UNC at Peter Barton, the other two matchups that stand out – moreso than even the rivalry trip to South Bend – are the bouts at Ohio State and at Georgetown. Last year’s game between the Pioneers and the Buckeyes was canceled as a result of the now-infamous Bomb Cyclone that prevented DU from leaving Colorado. The loss of that matchup severely hurt the Pioneers’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament (though they certainly did themselves no favors in the games they did play) and it also likely hurt OSU’s NCAA bid chances. Next to DU’s rivalry with Notre Dame, the matchups with the Buckeyes have been among the better western games the sport has seen in the last five years. The all-time series between the two programs is tied at 12 but OSU has won six of the nine matchups in Columbus.

Denver will open BIG EAST play in 2020 on the road, looking to exact revenge on the Hoyas just a year after the Georgetown ended the Pioneers’ season in the BIG EAST Championship Game in Denver. The 12-9 championship loss was an appropriate end to a disappointing season for the Pioneers. They looked tired, hapless at times, and otherwise surprisingly overmatched against the Hoyas. Although the Pioneers will be more than halfway through the season and have a pretty good idea of where the year is headed, Denver will open conference play with a chance to make an important statement and get revenge on the road.

We’re still a bit less than five months away from the season but with the release of the schedule, the Pioneers have turned the page and hope springs eternal after a rough 2019 season. DU has their work cut out for them to prevent a second straight season without an NCAA Tournament appearance. But Denver should be able to achieve that if they can win their key nonconference matchups and perform well (translation: go undefeated) in BIG EAST play.

What are the matchups you’re looking most forward to? After a less-than-stellar home schedule last year, are you planning to attend more games this season?

One thought on “DU Men’s Lacrosse Schedule: Duke & North Carolina to make trek to Denver”

  1. This is an excellent schedule and the best one in a while – light years ahead of last year’s disastrous schedule.

    It looks as though DU should have the offensive horses to score with anyone, and the face-off position looks nearly ‘Baptistean’ between the second year experience of Brett Boos and the promise of highly recruited face-off man Alex Stathakis. DU should have the ball enough of the time to win games, and I hope Matt Brown concentrates on team shooting accuracy this season. When DU won the NC back in 2015, they shot 64% on goal and buried 32% of the shots for goals. Last year, DI shot only 57% on goal, and buried 28% of those shots. That difference is a big reason why DU went 10-5 last season and did not make it to the dance.

    The biggest challenge will be a reconstructed close defense with only 1 very experienced returnee in Colin Squires and so many other minutes up for grabs from new faces. Tierney and Gallant also need to not only replace bodies but teach systems, as defensive assistant John Orsen has left DU for Marquette.

    DU also needs to be better in goal, now that Alex Ready has graduated. Ready saved 47% of his shots last year, which is below the 50% level that DU asks of its goalies. Whomever replaces Ready needs to be a 50% netminder.

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