There's Denver, And Then There's Rest of ECAC
It's no secret that the sixth-ranked Denver men's lacrosse team, fresh off of its upset victory over Duke, is gathering steam for a possibly historic run in next month's NCAA tournament. In the meantime, the Pioneers are simply bullying the ECAC.
The Pioneers are an interesting group, in that they in no way represent the defensive model that second-year coach Bill Tierney would prefer. Denver (8-2) gives up an average of nine goals, and is 2-2 in games in which they surrendering double-digit scoring. Tierney must cringe when evaluating that group at times.
But, man, Tierney's offense, led by a terrific one-two punch in attackmen Mark Matthews (27 goals, 16 assists) and Alex Demopoulos (21, 17) can finish. And the Pioneers have begun to overwhelm their conference opponents, which they are outscoring by an average of 14-9.
Denver easily sits atop the ECAC in overall average scoring (13 goals per game), assists per game (7.4), points per game (20.4), shots per game (40.4) and is tied for the league lead with Ohio State in shooting percentage (.322).
The Pioneers will host the ECAC tournament on May 5 and May 7. The only way a team such as Ohio State or Loyola gets into the NCAAs is by securing an automatic bid by winning the league tournament. Denver should be in with an at-large bid, should it falter next month.
I just don't see how the bullies will allow that to happen.