March 31, 2017
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DENVER - The [4/6] University of Denver men's lacrosse team ended its non-conference season at 6-2 with wins over four nationally ranked programs, including [1/1] Notre Dame on March 12 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. DU will enter the next chapter in the 2017 campaign and begin its quest for its fourth-straight BIG EAST regular season title when the Pioneers host Georgetown on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT (Altitude/ESPN Denver 1600) at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
Denver enters Saturday's contest at 16-0 in BIG EAST regular season play since the Pioneers joined the conference ahead of the 2014 season. Now the fourth time around the BIG EAST slate, rivalries are beginning to form, players that were freshmen when Denver joined the league are now seniors and the familiarity between the six programs in the league is beginning to feel like conference foes.
Two-time USILA First Team All-America selection Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) enters BIG EAST play with a .723 winning percentage, picking up 73 ground balls on his 128 faceoff wins in 2017. Baptiste is 11 wins from breaking Chase Carraro's (2010-13) University of Denver record for career faceoffs, and would jump into the top-10 in NCAA history with 12 faceoff wins. Baptiste is one of three active faceoff men in the top-15 in NCAA history in faceoff wins joining seniors Ben Williams (Syracuse/743) and Kyle Rowe (Duke/712). The New Jersey native took his 1000th career faceoff in the opening draw of last Saturday's game against Towson, and heads into conference play at 710-1025 in his career.
Denver's offense had 20 different players score in its eight non-conference games in 2017, led by 45 from Denver's attack trio of senior Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.), freshman Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) and sophomore Austin French (Danville, Calif.). Walker leads the Pioneers with 19 goals, fresh off a rookie-season-best four-goal performance for the freshman last week at Towson. Cannizzaro leads Denver in points with 30 on 18 goals and 12 assists.
Sophomore Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is the lone Denver midfielder with double digit goals in 2017 coming off the third hat trick of his young career. Senior Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.) has eight points in his first four games of the season, missing the first half of the Pioneers non-conference slate. Second-line midfielder and faceoff wing man Danny Logan (Upper Arlington, Ohio) has seven goals and 13 ground balls in his rookie campaign.
Denver's defense opened the season with four-straight single-digit performances, including a shutout of Canisius in the fourth and final game of the 2017 Faceoff Classic on February 26. The Pioneers' shutout was the program's first since 1971 when the Pioneers held Commerce City Lacrosse Club without a goal. DU is 24-0 since defensive coordinator John Orsen's arrival in 2015 when it holds its opponents to single-digits.
The Hoyas visit Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium at 2-7, but consecutive one goal losses to a pair of teams receiving votes in the national polls (Loyola and Marquette), a two goal loss to [6/3] Hofstra and a goal loss to [14/15] Towson has the Pioneers attention as being more dangerous than their record shows.
Georgetown, who opened BIG EAST play last weekend with an 11-10 loss to Marquette, has four double-digit goal scorers through nine games in 2017, led by sophomore Daniel Bucaro's 26 tallies and redshirt junior Peter Conley's 19 goals. Junior netminder Nick Marrocco boasts a .528 save percentage, playing all but three minutes in 2017.
As the calendar turns to April, snow is in the forecast for the first time in the 2017 season. The Pioneers average faceoff temperature during their six game homestand in February and March was 54.2 degrees, including three games that saw temps in the 60s. Despite the forecast, the weather report looks nothing like the surprise snow storm at Villanova a year ago.
Denver's Altitude coverage in 2017 wraps-up on Saturday as Brad Thompson and Devin Farrell bring the call from Peter Barton. DU's remaining four regular season games are spread between Fox Sports 1, ESPN3 and CBS Sports Network. Voice of the Pioneers Tyler Maun will be with the program on the radio all season long between ESPN Denver 1600 and 104.3 The Fan.
UP NEXT: Denver men's lacrosse, Presented By Your Hometown Toyota Stores, will close out a mini two-game homestand next Sunday as the Pioneers host [20/RV] Villanova. The April 9 faceoff is set for 12 p.m. MT, and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and 104.3 The Fan.
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