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.
"It's almost like we're renewing all the goals that we set back 10 years ago" @DUCoachTierney talks with LSN about missing the @NCAALAX tournament last season & the 2020 @DU_MLAX schedule as the Pioneers become first DI team to announce its slate. More: https://t.co/IazsKCmIQa pic.twitter.com/VpJTlh2eZM
— Lax Sports Network (@LaxSportsNet) September 12, 2019
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?