The 17th-ranked Denver Pioneers (16-3) women’s lacrosse team made school history on May 12, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich., exacting a revenge upset on the #7th-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines (16-4) , 9-5 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. DU now advances to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history, and will play the top-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins on May 18 at 5pm MT for a trip to the NCAA final four.
After losing a one-goal heartbreaker in DU coach Bill Tierney’s emotional return to Princeton University last Tuesday, the #9-ranked Denver Pioneers desperately wanted to get head coach Bill Tierney his 400th win as a head coach on Saturday, March 30th.
Georgetown, the 19th ranked team in the nation and a team that beat DU 8-3 in last year’s Big East Tournament, was the big obstacle in front of Denver.
But the Pioneers left no doubts, exploding for a season-high 10 first-half goals and cruised to a 16-9 victory over Georgetown for the Pioneers’ most complete win of the season.
The win also guaranteed the 400th career victory in the 35-year head coaching career of coach Bill Tierney. Tierney now joins his good friend, Duke Head Coach John Danowski, as the only two men in the history of Division One lacrosse to reach that 400 coaching win milestone.
The Pioneers (6-3) took the field in charged-up state of mind on this cold and snowy Barton Stadium morning, hooting and hollering more than usual in the warm-up – and that emotional advantage, coupled with a solid game plan on both sides of the ball, led to a 16-goal offensive output against a ranked team. This was the kind of potent offense DU fans were waiting for this season for a very solid opening win in Big East Conference play.
“Coming out of that game [last Tuesday] at Princeton, we were down-and-out,” said Coach Tierney after the win. “But the guys responded to coaching really well [this week] and the [assistant coaches} coaches put together a great game plan, and the [DU] players played extremely well today…When you lose a game [at Princeton] that you feel you could have won…you gotta get the next one – you’re so desperate…I’m proud of the guys today.”
The Pioneers responded to the desperation with crisp offensive execution, with very balanced scoring on the day, with five different Pioneers scoring multiple goals. Senior Austin French topped the DU scoresheet with a four-goal, two assist day, followed by hat tricks from Ethan Walker (3g 2a) and Colton Jackson (3g, 1a), and supplemented by two-goal performances by Teddy Sullivan and Jack Hanna. The Pioneers scoring machine was fed by a strong performance at the face-off X (Brett Boos went 17-26 on the day), a confident clearing effort (16-18) and good ball control, giving up only eight turnovers. DU led 10-5 at the half and never looked back.
“[DU Associate Head Coach] Matt Brown had a good game plan and the [team] followed it.” said Tierney. “We only only had one turnover in the first half…and the [Georgetown] goalie was playing well. We said to the guys in the locker room ‘Keep shooting. Don’t be afraid to shoot, don’t let your hands get too tight, just keep shooting’ and they [goals] will eventually fall – [we] got a bunch of shots and they did [fall] .”
Indeed, Georgetown goalie Owen McElroy was heroic for the Hoyas in the net, making 16 saves in a losing effort.
Denver also played solid defense on the day, holding a strong Georgetown offense, averaging 13+ goals per game to only nine goals. DU’s star close defenseman Dylan Gaines had an excellent outing, containing Georgetown’s star attackman, Senior Daniel Buccaro, to only two goals in the game, while DU goalie Alex Ready chipped in with 12 saves to get the Pioneer victory.
DU will play #20th ranked Villanova Wildcats next Saturday at 3:30 pm MT in the second Big East game for the Pioneers.
Our thanks to Jason Evans for his photo and interview of Coach Tierney after the game.
It was supposed to be a special homecoming to Princeton, New Jersey for DU lacrosse coaching legend Bill Tierney, but the Princeton Tigers had other ideas, winning a wild and emotional game full of scoring and lightning-fast counter punches over #8th ranked Denver, 14-13.
Tierney, who spent 22 years coaching the PrincetonTigers to six national titles before jumping to coach Denver in 2009, had to be excited to bring his DU Pioneers to Princeton for the first time ever, gunning for his 400th career win on national TV. Tierney returned to his coaching roots at Sherrerd Field Tuesday afternoon with admittedly mixed emotions, and the significance of the game could be heard in a pregame interview as Tierney’s voice cracked with emotion as he reminisced about his Princeton past. The interview was less about his six national championships and more about the people he met along the way. Continue reading Princeton Spoils Tierney’s Return in Wild, 14-13 upset over Denver→
Senior attackman Austin French, who missed DU’s first four games of the season due to upper body injury, came back to the DU starting lineup with a vengeance to lift the eighth-ranked Pioneers (4-1) to 12-10 road victory over [15/20] North Carolina Tar Heels . The Pioneer road win ruined the christening of UNC’s brand new 4,000-seat Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday morning, Mar. 2.
French tied his career-high with a six point overall performance, and set a new career-high with five assists in the game to lead Denver. His ball distribution skills are critical to the flow of Denver’s offensive attack, and the Californian’s return to the lineup provided just the tonic DU needed to secure its first road win of the season. Continue reading Pioneer Lacrosse French-Fries North Carolina, 12-10 →
While men’s hockey and lacrosse take up the lion’s share of fan interest for most Pioneer fans, it’s important to recognize some otherDU athletic teams who continue to climb higher into national prominence and greater conference impact:
The 13th-ranked DU women’s lacrosse team beat its very first top five opponent since coach Liza Kelly took the helm in 2006, upsetting (#6/#4) Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, 11-7, behind Bea Behrins’ three-goal hat trick. This was a statement win for the program. The Pios have been a top-20 program for a while now, but have had trouble beating the very top echelon teams. Sunday’s win over SBU kept DU undefeated at 4-0 and may see the Pioneers knocking on the door of a top-10 ranking. The Michigan Wolverines come to town this Tuesday to face the surging Pioneers for a 12 noon start.
The sixth-ranked DU women’s gymnastics team scored its second highest all-time score (and the highest score of this season) with a 197.725 on Sunday afternoon before over 4,000 fans at Magness Arena, to win the meet over Iowa State and Boise State. This kind of scoring should keep DU in the hunt for a top-five national ranking as the season moves into the stretch run.
The DU men’s (#24th nationally) and (#47) women’s swim teams once again won the Summit League title for the sixth year in a row. DU was so dominant at the Summit League Championships that the DU women set an all-time league record for points, and DU mens and women swimmers won 37 of 38 of the swimming events overall. That’s an incredible achievement – perhaps the swimming equivalent of winning the Summit League basketball title game by 30 points, and repeating the winning margin for six straight years.
DU women’s basketball (15-12, 8-6 Summit league) continued its rise into a winning program with a dramatic road win at North Dakota. Often-injured senior Pioneer Haley Simental hit the long-range three point shot-of-her-college-career to send the game into overtime at the buzzer, in a game that the Pios would later win, 92-91. With the OT win, the Pios’ have earned at least a top-five seed at the Summit League tournament next month.
The DU women’s tennis team, ranked #40 nationally, are 7-2 this year in a sport where 317 teams compete nationally. DU has already defeated brand name schools such as Oregon, Wisconsin, BYU and Colorado this season.
All of these teams deserve our support, and we look forward to seeing how they compete in the coming months.
A day after the University of Denver men’s lacrosse team had their hearts broken after Connor Donahue’s last minute diving goal was waved off because he landed in the crease, Major League Lacrosse, the professional outdoor lacrosse league, held its annual Collegiate Draft. The event took place in Boston and featured a number of college lacrosse’s best players, including two of Denver’s standouts this year. Continue reading Two Pioneers picked in first three rounds of Major League Lacrosse draft→
Denver men’s lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney watched John Orsen develop as a college athlete, professional, and coach, all the while keeping a close eye. When the opportunity presented itself, Coach Tierney got Orsen on the phone and offered him a position as the University of Denver Pioneers’ defensive coordinator in September 2014.Continue reading From player to coach to teacher, John Orsen has come full circle→
As a coach, establishing a rapport that is effective, trusting, innovative and compelling for players and other staff members is not a simple feat by any means. It takes chemistry and experience to even qualify for such position. Legendary men’s lacrosse coach Bill Tierney and Matt Brown were on opposite ends of the coaching spectrum when their paths collided at the University of Denver in June 2010. Canadian-born Brown was entering his third year on Denver’s sideline, while New York-native Tierney was in his 28th year of coaching. Continue reading Bill Tierney & Matt Brown: Success bred from opposition→