Powered by a seven-point showing from junior Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.), top-seeded and No. 2/2 nationally ranked University of Denver men’s lacrosse defeated No. 4 seeded Rutgers, 14-7 in the BIG EAST Semifinals at Villanova Stadium on Thursday afternoon. The win advances the Pioneers to Saturday’s Championship game where they will face either No. 3 seed Villanova or No. 2 seed Marquette.
“I’m really proud of each facet of our game,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “Our goalies both played fantastically well. Chris Hampton dominated face-offs. Our defense played well, holding them to only four goals until the fourth quarter. Our offense was clicking in the first half, but just wasn’t scoring as we usually do. This is credit to the way Rutgers was defending us.”
Berg finished the day with his fifth hat trick of the season, 17th of his career, netting five goals to go along with two assists for seven points. With his seven points, Berg now has 152 career points, tied for sixth all-time with former Pioneer and current Denver Outlaw Eric Law. His 110 career goals are No. 6 all-time, three shy of associate head coach Matt Brown who sits at No. 5.
Also scoring for the Pioneers was junior Erik Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), who finished with three goals and two assists for five points. Adamson tallied his eighth hat trick of the season.
Sophomore Jack Bobzien (Littleton, Colo.) tallied two goals, while freshman Max Planning (Alexandria, Va.) and senior Harrison Archer (Washington, D.C.) each tallied a goal each. Freshman Zach Miller (Steamburg, N.Y.) found his scoring ways with a goal and two assists and junior Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) got back into the scoring column with a goal and an assist.
Senior Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) posted two assists, while causing one turnover and picking up five ground balls. Noble’s two assists give him 73 career assists, tied for No. 2 in Pioneer history, sitting behind Pioneer great Ed “Tug” Howe who played for the Pioneers from 1967-70. He is nine assists shy of the school record. The midfielder’s five ground balls brings his career total to 197, moving him into the top-five in career ground balls all-time.
Face-off specialist Chris Hampton (Bethesda, Md.) won a career-high 16 face-offs off a career-tying 24 attempts against one of the nation’s top face-off takers. Hampton also grabbed a career-high nine ground balls.