The No. 2/2/3 University of Denver men’s lacrosse team opens the BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed this Thursday against No. 4 seed Rutgers at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa. The Pioneers and Scarlet Knights will open the tournament with a 2:30 p.m. MT face-off. Rutgers is 8-7 on the season and 3-3 in BIG EAST Play.
Denver has won nine straight games, sitting at 12-2 on the season. The Pioneers are coming off a 17-9 win over Marquette at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium to capture the BIG EAST Regular Season Title. The win-streak is the Pioneers’ longest since the 2011 season in which Denver won 12 straight games before losing to eventual NCAA Champion Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals (05/28/11).
•Denver and Rutgers are deadlocked at 1-1 in the all-time series that dates back to March of 1999.
• Earlier this season, Denver defeated Rutgers 17-11 at home in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,232 fans.
•The Scarlet Knights come into Thursday’s contest with an 8-7 overall record.
•Although Rutgers has lost three of its last five, the Scarlet Knights stole a 12-8 win over Georgetown over the weekend to seal its trip to the BIG EAST Tournament.
•Scott Klimchak leads the Scarlet Knights with 42 points off 37 goals and five assists, while Christian Trasolini is close behind with 40 points off 27 goals and 13 assists.
•Face-off specialist Joseph Nardella has won 199-of-306 face-offs for a 0.650 winning percentage, ranking him No. 4 in the nation.
•Goalie Kris Alleyne leads the team with 116 saves, while also posting a .504 save percentage and an 11.03 goals-against average.
•Rutgers averages 12.47 goals, 7.6 assists and 20.1 points per game off 38.8 shots per game.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
•Denver is coming off a 17-9 win over Marquette at home that improved the Pioneers to 12-2 overall, 6-0 in league play.
•The Pioneers’ 12-2 start matches the best start for the program since 2011 when it advanced to the Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
•Sophomore Jack Bobzien leads the Pioneers with 51 points and 34 goals, while also dishing our 17 assists. The transfer ranks No. 25 in the nation in points per game (3.64) and No. 27 in points per game (2.43).
•Bobzien and junior Carson Cannon picked up BIG EAST Honor Roll honors after their performances in the Pioneers 17-9 win over Marquette. Bobzien tallied five points off four goals and one assist, while Cannon caused three turnovers and picked up two ground balls.
•Junior Wesley Berg is second on the team with 48 points off 33 goals and 15 assists.
•Senior Jeremy Noble leads the Pioneers with 27 assists and has 38 ground balls on the year.
•Face-off specialist Chris Hampton has a team-best 42 ground balls and has won 95-of-195 face-offs so far this year.
•Goalie tandem of Ryan LaPlante and Jamie Faus have been splitting time in net. LaPlante has 82 saves on the season, a .577 save percentage and an 8.90 goals-against average. Faus has 68 saves, a .540 save percentage and an 8.20 goals-against average.
•Denver has the second-best winning percentage in the nation (0.857), the fourth-best scoring offense (13.36), the second best shot percentage (0.384) and the fifth-best scoring margin (4.71).