One year is all it took for the University of Denver to be hailed "Big East Champions."
On Saturday afternoon, the Pioneers beat the Villanova Wildcats 14-7 to take home the school's first-ever Big East title in lacrosse. Freshman Zach Miller lead the team with 4 goals to earn his third hat-trick of the season, while junior Wes Berg earned Most Outstanding Player honors for his 8 goals and 2 assists in the tournament.
"Villanova really played us tough in the first half, taking us out of our game a little," said head coach Bill Tierney. "I think our defense really stepped up in the second half, Chris Hampton had another outstanding game, and our offense found its rhythm in the second half."
Despite winning the title game in dominating fashion, the post-game celebration was subdued. No dog piles or sticks thrown into the Pennsylvania air for a team that is in the midst of an eleven-game winning streak. It was a signal that the Pioneers expected to be here, and that this was only a small achievement on a much longer list of goals.
The Pioneers will now wait until Sunday night (May 4th) to find out who they will face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite going undefeated in Big East play, the Pioneers might not host a tournament game due to only two wins over teams ranked in the "Top 20" during the regular season. This will be the Pioneers' fifth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
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