The University of Denver men’s lacrosse team will face another difficult schedule in the 2014 season. The Pioneers will be challenged by four teams that finished in the top 20 last season, as well as three that received votes in the final 2013 rankings. Four of these teams were selected to play in the NCAA tournament, including NCAA champion Duke University.
Denver will also begin competition as one of the newest members of the Big East, leaving the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Pioneers are coming off their second NCAA Semifinal appearance in three seasons under head coach Bill Tierney.
“The 2014 season will once again allow our players the opportunity to play one of the most formidable schedules in the country, while permitting our fans the chance to see the Pioneers against top-flight Division I talent,” Tierney says. “Our Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic will feature double-headers with Air Force and Denver competing against Marist and Canisius, and we still keep Notre Dame, Penn State, Penn and Duke on our schedule. “
Denver begins the 2014 season at the Air Force Academy on Feb. 8. The Pioneers then travel to Durham, N.C., to face the defending national champion Duke on Feb. 15.
DU returns home to host the Frontier Airlines Face-off Classic February 22-23. Air Force and Canisius kick off the tournament at 11 a.m., followed by Denver against Marist at 1:30 p.m. Air Force and Marist face off on Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. The Pioneers will close the tournament at 1:30 p.m. against Canisius.
The Pioneers travel to Philadelphia on March 1 to take on Penn, followed by Notre Dame on March 8. Denver comes back to Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium to host Penn State on March 10.
Denver continues at home to play Ohio State on March 15, then opens conference play against Rutgers on March 22. The Pioneers hit the road again to take on Georgetown in Washington, D.C., on March 29. They will continue on the road at Villanova on April 5 before returning home to face St. John’s on April 12. DU will play at Providence on April 19 and then return home for its final home game of the season on April 26 against Marquette.
“Moving into the Big East Conference aligns us with many new, challenging opponents,” Tierney says. “Georgetown, Villanova, St. Johns, Rutgers, Providence and Marquette will all be formidable additions to our schedule. Although we will miss our ECAC rivalry games with Loyola and Fairfield, we are maintaining our games vs. Ohio State and Air Force as nonconference match-ups.”
The Big East Conference Tournament will be hosted by Villanova on May 1-3. The NCAA first and second rounds will be located at various host sites May 10-18, while the semifinals and championship will be in Baltimore May 24-26.
The Pioneers played in a series of fall games in preparation for the spring season. On Oct. 12, Denver traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., to play the Canadian National Team. Denver then returned home to host the annual Alumni Game and the fifth annual Colorado Lacrosse Showcase between the Pioneers and Denver Outlaws.
“We have already had two great contests this fall against the Canadian National Team and the Denver Outlaws,” Tierney says. “These events have been a great aid in helping to prepare our team for the upcoming season.”
For information, including how to buy tickets, visit DenverPioneers.com.