Denver Men’s Lacrosse Releases 2021 Schedule, features BIG EAST ‘Round Robin’

#7 Denver Men’s Lacrosse opens its season in nine days against Utah. Yes, you read that right. Denver Men’s Lacrosse opens its season in nine days. Where has the time gone? Well, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, for starters, and time is really nothing more than a social construct but I digress. What really matters here is Denver Men’s Lacrosse officially unveiled its full schedule today that features four non-conference games, two at home and two on the road, and a 10-game ’round-robin” style BIG EAST schedule.

DU’s full schedule is below:

The first shock to the system is the notable omissions of Notre Dame and Ohio State. Denver has had both on its regular-season schedule every year since 1997 and Ohio State since 1996 – although the last two years, that matchup has not been played due to a Bomb Cyclone (2019) and the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19 the day before the Pios were scheduled to leave for Columbus (2020). The lack of Men’s Lacrosse’s western rivalry certainly will be an adjustment but hey, there’s always the NCAA Tournament.

Now, looking at who Denver will be playing, head coach Bill Tierney is wasting no time throwing his 2021 squad into the fire with a trip to North Carolina to play #1 Duke and #6 North Carolina in the span of three days just two weekends into the season. DU will bookend the trip to North Carolina with the geographically logical matchups with Utah and Air Force, both at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. For a team that features incredible returning talent like Ethan Walker and Jack Hannah and massively talented transfers like Jackson Morrill and Lucas Cotler, the Pios will not have the luxury of time to jell.

In Denver’s BIG EAST portion of its schedule, they will play every team in the conference twice – once at home and once on the road – before the conference tournament in Providence, the one in Rhode Island. This is a new scheduling wrinkle in response to the COVID-19 pandemic intended to limit exposure to other conferences and create a kind of conference-only travel bubble. In a normal year, Denver would play just five conference games and around 10 non-conference games.

Make no mistake, this is a Denver team with serious national title aspirations. But with a full 10 games against historically weak BIG EAST opponents, Denver will likely have to run the table and/or win the BIG EAST Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. That is unlike in years past where its traditionally strong non-conference schedule was generally enough of a resume-builder to get it into the NCAA Tournament with little regard for its performance in-conference.

While no official announcement has been made, it is our understanding that fans and non-essential media (read: non-tv/radio personnel) will not be permitted to attend any games at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium this year, which is a gut-punch for a program that boasts some of the best attendance in the country game in and game out. It has been a weird year all around, though, so what’s one more season without fans, right? With no fans in the stands, every game will be available on Pioneer Vision, and expect Altitude to pick up some games.

Sound off in the comments. What are your thoughts on the schedule? Give us your season predictions!

Top photo of Ethan Walker against North Carolina courtesy of Denver Athletics

5 thoughts on “Denver Men’s Lacrosse Releases 2021 Schedule, features BIG EAST ‘Round Robin’”

  1. The key weekend is the North Carolina trip. A win over Duke and/or UNC on their fields will show us if the Pios are legit NCAA contenders this season.

    Talent and experience wise, the Pios have great depth in most positions, but the key for me is goaltending. I don’t think DU has had .500 goaltending in about 6 years, which has hurt DU’s ability to be truly elite in recent years. I hope it’s better this year…

    In the Big East, I expect DU and Georgetown to be the teams to beat, but with two games against each league team this season, the second games against each opponent will be much tougher to win, as teams can adjust for the second game.

    I like that there are SOME non-conference games, as its tough to pick a national tourney based entirely on conference play. I only wish NCAA hockey had allowed for some inter-league play, as the Pios’ NCHC-only record isn’t going to be very fantastic this year.

    All in all, I can’t wait to watch…

  2. Dunker very pleased with schedule. Hope we can play it out during Pandemic year. I didn’t expect OSU and ND this year. Too much traveling. Hope we can sneak out one in Tar Heel State. Hopefully UNC has a game the day we play Duke.
    Big East is actually a double round robin. Pretty much like college basketball. In the BE, Gtown is ranked and Nova close. Expecting better than 8-2 is a stretch. I would prefer 9-1. But BET is savior should we need it if we get swept and go like 7–3 in BE regular season. Other BE teams have closed gap in talent level except for St.John’s.
    No IVIES would open up a few more spots for at-large teams into NCAA tournament.
    Glad PIOVISION will do at least 5 games. Maybe they add AFA and or Utah. Some road games might get televised by someone.
    Nick, 9 Days. That’s amazing. We need some positive entertainment.

  3. I am with Puck on the goaltending – we need to steal some games at that position. Also, since the shot clock was introduced, I have been surprised with DU’s lack of creativity to score, especially in traffic. With box lacrosse and all the skill training these days, you would think Denver would have one of the best teams in the country with time running out on the clock. Unfortunately, the ball seems to spend a lot of time on the perimiter. I, too, am expecting a good season from Denver.

  4. I’m fired up for lacrosse to start. I hate to sound like Debbie Downer, but with the hoops team being a grease fire and the hockey team scuffling, it’s been a dreary last few months. Hoping both lacrosse teams can get some positive momentum going in 2021.

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