Four Pioneers finished with four points each as the No. 5/5 University of Denver men’s lacrosse team defeated Rutgers University 17-11 in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,232 fans at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium in snowy conditions on Saturday afternoon. The win is the first for the Pioneers in BIG EAST play as the league’s newest members.
“Overall it was a good win,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “It was our first BIG EAST game. Our kids have never seen Rutgers and even though I’ve played against them during my days at Princeton, this is a whole new team. You could see it in the first quarter that everyone was dancing around one another trying to get their offenses to click. We definitely feel like there are things that we could have done better, but I’m proud of how this team fought to get the win, considering the weather conditions that we played in.”
Freshman Tyler Pace (Mission, B.C.) led the team with four goals for his second career hat trick. Sophomore transfer Jack Bobzien (Littleton, Colo.) and freshman Zach Miller (Steamburg, N.Y.) both finished with three goals and an assist each for four points, both netting their fifth hat trick of the season.
Senior Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) also finished with four points off one goal and three assists, while junior Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) scored two goals and tallied one assist for three points.
Juniors Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) and Erik Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), as well as freshmen Connor Flynn (Charlotte, N.C.) and Max Planning (Alexandria, Va.) all scored one goal each on the day to round out the scoring.
Sophomore Chris Hampton (Bethesda, Md.) led the face-off corps with a 9-of-16 showing at the X, while sophomore Joe Bano (Dublin, Ohio) won 3-of-9 and sophomore Christian Thomas (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) won 2-of-5. Hampton also grabbed a career-high seven ground balls, leading the Pioneers.
Junior Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) earned his fourth win of the season with 11 saves in just 30 minutes of action, allowing only five goals. Senior captain Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) made two saves in 27:25 minutes of action, while sophomore Joey Gigantiello (Shamong, N.J.) made one save in 2:35 minutes.