DU Lacrosse Prepares for NCAA Tournament
Both men’s and women’s teams will travel for the first round of the tournament
For the first time since 2014, both the women’s and men’s lacrosse teams are headed to the NCAA Tournament in the same season. The men’s team will open the tournament with a trip to seventh-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday, May 13. After posting a 12-6 regular season record, the women’s team earned an at-large bid and a first-round matchup against High Point in College Park, Maryland, on Friday, May 11.
“I think it is really hard to get selected to the NCAA Tournament, and I am really proud of the team for being able to bounce back throughout the season,” says Liza Kelly, head coach of the women’s team. “We’ve had a couple of tough losses early on against some really good programs, and they didn’t give up. They kept improving, and I am really happy to see and hear them celebrate and that this team gets to continue to play.”
The Pioneers have faced High Point twice before, defeating the Panthers in both 2013 and 2014. However, this season High Point went 17-2 and won both the Big South Conference regular season and conference tournament.
“They are very well-coached, [and] they are extremely good athletes,” Kelly says. “We know that we really need to come in prepared for a great game against them.”
The winner on Friday will play the No. 1 overall seed Maryland Terrapins.
On the men’s side, DU is very familiar with Notre Dame. The Pioneers lost to the Irish 11-9 in South Bend during the regular season. However, prior to the defeat in March, Denver had won six straight in the series, including a 16-4 win in last season’s NCAA quarterfinals.
“They jumped on us early [this season], and we are going to have to prevent that,” says head coach Bill Tierney. “They are a great team, and they are playing really well right now. We know this team, and they know us. We have played each other six times in the last four years, so it will be another great battle.”
Denver and Notre Dame are two of only five programs in the country to qualify for the NCAA Tournament every year since 2010. The winner of Sunday’s game, which will broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN Denver 1600, will take on the winner of Albany and Richmond on May 19.