DU Lacrosse Makes NCAA History in 2011
In 2011 there were 61 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I Men's college Lacrosse teams. Since 1934 teams have competed at the Division I level, however not until recently have any teams come west. In fact today there are only two teams west of the Mississippi River; Air Force Academy and Denver University, both located in Colorado. DU has had its ups and downs since it's induction into Division I Lacrosse in 1999, but has finally emerged as a rising power in recent years. At the end of this regular season the Pioneers held a 14-2 record, were the ECAC Champions, and were ranked No. 6 in the nation going into the playoffs. In the opening round DU was matched up against the Villanova Wildcats. Before 2011 no team west of the Mississippi has hosted an NCAA Division I tournament game. On May 15, 2011 the DU Men's Lacrosse team made NCAA history by not only hosting their first NCAA tournament game, but by beating the visiting Villanova Wildcats 13-10. The game was evenly matched until the fourth quarter when the Pioneers just wouldn't be denied. Freshman goal tender Jamie Faus made six saves while junior Alex Demopoulos scored the final goal of the game. This marks the first time ever that a team west of the Mississippi has hosted, and won, a playoff game in over 70 years. The Pioneers made history yet again when they faced the No.3 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in the semifinals. On May 21, 2011 the DU Pioneers beat the Blue Jays 14-9 to advance to the final four for the first time in school history. Due to a three goal showing from senior Todd Baxter and sophomore Cameron Flint the Pioneers yet again found themselves writing their names in the history books; by becoming the first western team to reach the final four. However Denver Finally found their luck to run out on May 28, 2011 when they fell to the No.7 Virginia Cavaliers 14-8. Though coming up short of becoming the first western team to win the championship, the DU Pioneers have managed to solidify the future of lacrosse in the west.