The [#9] University of Denver (10-5, 4-2) played #1 seed [#8] Georgetown Saturday afternoon for the BIG EAST title on Valley Fields at Marquette University. It was no contest as Georgetown racked up seven straight goals to open the game and never looked back. Ultimately, did Denver do enough to qualify for an at-large bid following the nine-goal loss?
It was all Georgetown in the first period, outscoring DU 3-0. The Hoyas’ Nicky Solomon rattled home a hat trick, all three goals in the first quarter, to take a solid 3-0 lead. Denver could only muster three shots on goal while Georgetown hit on three goals in five shots on goal.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Tucker Dordevic found net for Georgetown. With Denver still scoreless, the pesky Nicky Solomon scored his fourth goal at the ten-minute mark as the reeling Pioneers could not solve goalie Danny Hincks. Georgetown continued to pile it on with two more goals by Brian Minicus and Declan McDermott putting on a scoring clinic, 7-0 Georgetown. Rarely has a DU team looked so inept on offense and defense in a single half of lacrosse. With 3:38 left, DU’s Joshua Carlson ended the nearly 27-minute scoring drought, 7-1, Georgetown. Two minutes later Georgetown’s Tucker Dordevic erased Carlson’s effort, 8-1. The Hoyas Jacob Kelly poured it on with 15 seconds left, 9-1 Georgetown. It was an off day for Denver goalie Malcolm Kleban, allowing 9 goals on 12 shots.
It was one of the worst halves of lacrosse in memory for Denver. While Georgetown has clearly proven to be the better team in recent BIG EAST seasons winning five straight championships, perhaps Denver took their foot off the gas after their semi-final win believing that was enough to qualify for the NCAA tournament. If so, Georgetown made them pay a heavy price. It is possible that Denver has fallen all the way off the bubble and out of consideration.
Goalie Jack Thompson came off the bench for Denver for the second half but the results were the same. JJ Sillstrop quickly got Denver on the board in the third quarter. However, several minutes later Nicky Solomon punished the Pioneers again, 10-2. Georgetown’s Brian Minicus followed that with a quick goal and Solomen scored his sixth goal of the game (and only his 13th for the year). Finally, DU’s Mic Kelly scored from the top of the key for Denver’s third goal of the game at 5:39. The quarter ended mercifully with Denver trailing by nine goals, 12-3.
Denver left Tucker Dordevic wide open for an easy goal to open the final stanza. A back-door dunk by Tucker Dordevic continued the Hoya onslaught. JJ Sillstrop caught a rebound and tucked it into the cage, 14-4, as Denver tried to make the score more respectable. DU’s Noah Manning scored in traffic, 14-5, and earned a man-up opportunity with eight minutes remaining in the quarter but the Pioneers turned the ball over. The Hoyas began to run the clock in the waning minutes as Denver fans were left to wonder if these were the final minutes of the Tierney era. Final score 14-5.
Nineteen turnovers by the Pioneers partially explain the loss. However, Georgetown was clearly the best team on the field Saturday afternoon. Now, a committee will determine Denver’s fate. We will know tomorrow (Sunday) when the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee makes their selections at 7:30 pm MT on ESPNU.
Photo courtesy of the BIG EAST Conference