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Pioneers make NCAA lacrosse tournament

The DU men's lacrosse team won the inaugural ECAC conference tournament on May 7. Photo: Rich Clarkson & Associates

The University of Denver held off a late rally by Fairfield to claim the inaugural ECAC tournament championship with an 11-9 win at DU’s Barton Lacrosse Stadium on May 7.

The Pioneers, who also won the ECAC regular-season title, earned the league’s automatic NCAA tournament bid and extended its winning streak to a program-record 10 wins.

“A great deal of credit needs to go to Fairfield and all those young men that competed and didn’t give up for the full 60 minutes,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “I am proud of our guys for sticking in there and coming up with goals when we needed them, but our team just learned something out there and that is to never give up until that buzzer sounds. I am excited that we were able to secure the first-ever ECAC championship and to get the automotive qualifier to the NCAA tournament. It’s been a long season, but we’re ready to keep playing and show everyone what Denver lacrosse is all about.”

Denver led 11-4 early in the fourth quarter before the Fairfield mounted their comeback with five consecutive goals to cut the deficit to two goals with 3:04 remaining. The Pioneers sealed the win as freshman goaltender Jamie Faus stopped Fairfield’s final two attempts on goal.

Conference player-of-the-year Mark Matthews, sophomore Eric Law, senior Todd Baxter and junior Alex Demopoulos scored two goals each for Denver and Faus earned his 12th win of the season with 13 saves.

Freshman Jeremy Noble, sophomore Hayden Schuette and tournament MVP Chase Carraro also scored. Carraro dominated face-offs by winning 16-of-22 draws.

DU takes on Villanova in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 3:15 p.m. May 15 at Barton Lacrosse Stadium. ESPNU will televise the game. The game is sold out.

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