Pioneers turn in historic lacrosse season
May 31, 2011
By: Nathan Solheim 

news-lacrosse-ncaa-final-four.jpgSenior Todd Baxter of Eden Prairie, Minn., played in the DU Pioneers' first-ever appearance in the NCAA Final Four on May 28. Photo: Mike Kennedy

While the magical season ended with a 14-8 loss to eventual NCAA champion Virginia in the national semifinals on May 28, the program can look to a host of other accomplishments.

The Pioneers won the inaugural Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament championship as well as the ECAC regular season title while going undefeated in conference play. Signature victories abounded throughout the season. DU’s first NCAA tournament victory in program history — over Villanova — was the also the first NCAA lacrosse tournament game played west of the Mississippi.

DU then went on to beat a powerhouse Johns Hopkins team in the NCAA quarterfinals to advance to the Final Four. The regular season brought wins against Ohio State in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showcase and an upset of the then-No. 4-ranked Duke Blue Devils in New York.

“This is a special group of student-athletes,” head coach Bill Tierney says. “They worked hard, came together as a cohesive unit and believed in themselves all season. What they achieved was remarkable.”

The season also brought DU its highest-ever ranking — No. 4 — and by season’s end, a 15-3 record.

DU’s Mark Matthews, a junior from Oshawa, Ontario, won conference player of the year honors and was named second-team All-American. The accomplishment is the highest All-America honor for a DU lacrosse player.

“Mark has played at a high level all season,” Tierney says. “He is a very unselfish player who is one of our offensive catalysts. Mark is certainly deserving of the second-team honor.”

Sophomore Chase Carraro of Louisville, Ky., freshman Jamie Faus of Lakeville, Conn., and sophomore Cam Flint of Georgetown, Ontario, were named All-American honorable mentions.

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