Second-ranked Denver defeats Villanova 14-7 to capture Big East title
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Denver captured the Big East championship with a 14-7 win against No. 3 seeded Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. The win extends the Pioneers’ win streak to 11 consecutive games and gives Denver the automatic bid to the NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Championship that begins May 10-11.
“Villanova really played us tough in the first half, taking us out of our game a little,” head coach Bill Tierney said. “I think our defense really stepped up in the second half, Chris Hampton had another outstanding game, and our offense found its rhythm in the second half.”
Freshman Zach Miller led the Pioneers with five points off four goals and two assists, picking up his seventh hat trick of the season. For his efforts Miller was named to the Big East all-tournament team, finishing with five goals and three assists for eight points in two games.
Junior Wesley Berg was named the most outstanding player of the tournament, posting three goals on the day, bringing his two-game total to eight goals and two assists for 10 points.
Sophomore Jack Bobzien and freshman Tyler Pace both registered three points of two goals and an assist. Bobzien also picked up four ground balls, earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
Senior Jeremy Noble and junior Garret Holst both tallied assists, while juniors Mike Riis and Sean Cannizzaro, along with senior Harrison Archer all tallied a goal each.
Sophomore face-off specialist Hampton tied his career high by winning 16 of 24 face-offs, while also grabbing a career-high 10 ground balls to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
Senior goalie Jamie Faus was the goalie of record, making five saves and allowing only one goal, bringing his season record to 5-2 on the season. Faus earned all-tournament team honors. Junior goalie Ryan LaPlante made three saves on the day.
Denver held the advantage in shots (42-24), ground balls (40-18), face-offs (17 of 26 to 9 of 26), while Villanova made 13 saves to Denver’s 8.
Devin McNamara and Matt McIver both led the Wildcats with two goals each.
McNamara made the all-tournament team, as did Villanova's Thomas Croonquist and John LoCascio, and Scott Bieda of Rutgers and Liam Byrnes of Marquette.
Big East Conference Athletics contributed to this report.