Hempstead, NY -Sixth-seeded Denver used a 6-0 run in the first half and a 5-0 run in the second half to capture a 14-9 win over third-seeded Johns Hopkins on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University, in front of a stadium record 13,447 fans.
Senior attackman Todd Baxter (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and sophomore midfielder Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ont.) led a balanced Denver offense with three goals apiece, while freshman midfielder Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ont.) had two goals and three assists. The Pioneers improved to 15-2 overall with the win, and will advance to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history, when it will face seventh-seeded Virginia in the semifinals in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, May 28. Johns Hopkins closes its season at 13-3 after seeing its eight-game winning streak snapped.
Denver took a 6-1 in the first half after its 6-0 run, and had a 7-3 lead at the break, but had to withstand a furious Johns Hopkins rally in the third quarter. Senior attackman Chris Boland (Columbia, Md.) had two goals and an assist during a 4-1 spurt for the Blue Jays in a span of less than eight minutes that brought the score within 8-7. Boland capped off the spurt with a feed to freshman midfielder Phil Castronova (Bel Air, Md.) with 7:16 left in the third quarter, and the Blue Jays won the ensuing face-off to give themselves a chance to tie the score.
The Pioneers took the punch, though, and held defensively, before answering back with three straight goals to close out the period nd take an 11-7 lead, while seizing the momentum back from Johns Hopkins. Baxter scored his third of the day off a feed from junior attackman Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ont.) to end the Blue Jay spurt with 4:47 left in the third quarter. Denver won the ensuing face-off, and junior midfielder Henry Miketa (Fort Collins, Colo.) scored 34 seconds later to stretch the lead to 10-7.
Sophomore midfielder Eric Law (Centennial, Colo.) ended the period with an unassisted goal with 57 seconds left in the third to put the Pioneers back up by four goals at 11-7. Noble continued the Denver run in the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal with 12:35 left to match Denver's largest lead of the game at 12-7. Senior midfielder Andrew Lay (Denver, Colo.) then rifled a shot off a Noble feed into the upper-left corner to give the Pioneers a 13-7 advantage at the 10:12 mark, capping off the 5-0 run for the Pioneers.
Senior attackman Kyle Wharton (Garnet Valley, Pa.) ended the Denver run with a blind over-the-shoulder shot in front of the cage off a feed from Boland to make the score 13-8. Noble, though, finished up the upset win for Denver when he scored into an empty cage with 2:18 remaining, before Boland added a goal for the Johns Hopkins at the 1:21 mark to cap off a two-goal, four-assist performance in a losing cause and make the final score 14-9.
Johns Hopkins scored early on a goal from freshman midfielder Rob Guida (Chatham, N.J.) just 2:21 into the contest, but Denver stunned the Blue Jays with a 6-0 run over the next 17 minutes. Matthews started the run when he scored off a feed from Noble, and the Pioneers then rattled off four straight unassisted goals as their attackers consistently ran past Blue Jay defenders for clean looks at the cage. Baxter broke the tie at the 9:09 mark of the first quarter, and Flint then scored his first at the 6:13 mark to give Denver a 3-1 lead at the end of the opening stanza.
Flint quickly found the back of the net 23 seconds into the second quarter to stretch the lead to 4-1, and sophomore midfielder Chase Carraro (Louisville, Ky.) ran up the middle of the defense and scored at the 11:04 mark to give Denver a 5-1 lead. Baxter then scored his second of the day off a feed from Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.) at the 10:10 mark to give the Pioneers their largest lead of the half at 6-1.
Johns Hopkins answered back with the next two goals, as sophomore midfielder John Ranagan (Yorktown, N.Y.) scored an unassisted goal at the 8:33 mark, and 43 seconds later, Wharton scored off a feed from Boland to make the score 6-3. Denver responded as Flint scored his third goal of the opening half at the 7:10 mark, and neither team was able to score the rest of the half as the Pioneers took a 7-3 lead into the break.
Johns Hopkins held a 36-29 advantage in shots on the day, but Denver was able to convert on nearly half of its shots to record its historic win. Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Pioneers, who had nine different goal scorers on the day. Wharton had three goals for the Blue Jays in his final game. Johns Hopkins sophomore goalie Pierce Bassett (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Denver freshman goalie Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) each had eight saves on the day.
The school-record crowd at Hofstra's James M. Shuart Stadium topped the previous mark of 12,292 set in 1999 during the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Quarterfinals.
Johns Hopkins vs. Denver
|Jeremy Noble||(2, 3)|
|Todd Baxter||(3, 0)|
|Mark Matthews||(1, 2)|
|Cameron Flint||(3, 0)|
|Andrew Lay||(1, 0)|
|Henry Miketa||(1, 0)|
|Eric Law||(1, 0)|
|Paul Danko||(1, 0)|
|Chase Carraro||(1, 0)|
|Alex Demopoulos||(0, 1)|