No. 5 Denver captures ECAC title
Balanced offensive attack leads Pioneers to victory
DENVER - No. 5 Denver held off a late rally by Fairfield to claim the inaugural ECAC Tournament championship with an 11-9 victory Saturday afternoon at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The Pioneers, who also won the ECAC regular-season title, earned the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid with the win and extended its winning streak to a program-record 10 wins.
"A great deal of credit needs to go to Fairfield and all those young men that competed and didn't give up for the full 60 minutes," said head coach Bill Tierney. "I am proud of our guys for sticking in there and coming up with goals when we needed them, but our team just learned something out there and that is to never give up until that buzzer sounds. I am excited that we were able to secure the first-ever ECAC Championship and to get the automotive qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. It's been a long season, but we're ready to keep playing and show everyone what Denver lacrosse is all about."
Denver led 11-4 early in the fourth quarter before the Stags mounted their comeback with five consecutive goals to cut the deficit to two goals with 3:04 remaining. The Pioneers sealed the win as goaltender Jamie Faus stopped the Stags final two attempts on goal.
ECAC Player of the Year Mark Matthews, sophomore Eric Law, senior Todd Baxter and junior Alex Demopoulos scored two goals each for Denver and Faus earned his 12th win of the season with 13 saves.
Freshman Jeremy Noble, sophomore Hayden Schuette and tournament MVP Chase Carraro also scored, while Carraro dominated face-offs by winning 16-of-22 draws.
Max Trunz led Fairfield with three goals, while Nick Baglio, Matt Plominski, Doug Kuring, Sam Snow, Matt Lanzaro and John Snellman added goals for the Stags. Charlie Cipriano made 13 saves as Fairfield ends its season at 8-8.
Denver held a 5-2 advantage after an entertaining first period. Law opened the scoring at 3:43 before Baglio tied it at 1-1 less than one minute later. Matthews scored back-to-back goals, followed by Noble and Demopoulos as the Pioneers outshot the Stags 8-4 in the first period.
Baxter and Schuette scored goals in the second quarter to extend DU's lead to 7-2 at the half. Faus stopped all five Fairfield shots in the quarter.
Law, Baxter and Carraro scored for Denver in the third quarter as the Pioneers held a commanding 10-3 lead. Plominski netted Fairfield's lone goal in the quarter.
After a Demopoulos goal at 2:32 of the fourth quarter, Fairfield rallied with goals from Lanzaro, Snow, Trunz (2) and Snellman to make the final score 11-9.