Bill Tierney closes in on all-time wins mark in 500th game as coach

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The University of Denver men’s lacrosse program defeated St. John’s 18-12 on Saturday afternoon at DaSilva Memorial Stadium. Denver’s win on Saturday punched the Pioneers ticket to the 2017 BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Championships, presented by Jeep, in Providence in the first week of May. DU’s win also punched the Friars’ ticket, who defeated Marquette on Saturday. The two unbeaten teams in BIG EAST play will meet at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MT.

Saturday’s game marked the 500th in the career of head coach Bill Tierney, who became the seventh Division I men’s lacrosse coach to reach that milestone on Saturday. Tierney is second in Division I wins with 377, and is three wins behind Duke coach John Danowski.

2016 Tewaaraton Finalist Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) turned in a six-point day, scoring five goals, all in the second half, on just seven shots to go with his 19th assist of the season. Cannizzaro extended the nation’s longest active point streak to 52 games.

Junior faceoff man Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) turned in another 75+% day at the X, going 22-for-29 from the dot, while picking up 13 ground balls and adding his eighth goal of the season.

Freshman Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) added a five-point day for Denver with two goals and three helpers for the Pioneers’ attack. Sophomore Austin French (Danville, Calif.) tallied four points on the days with two goals and two assists, creating for Denver’s attack from X throughout the day. sophomore Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) scored three times for Denver, all on the man-up to cap off his fourth-career hat trick. Senior Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.) capped of Denver’s five multi-goal scorers with two of his own. Saturday marked the 11th time since the start of the 2014 season and the fourth time this season that Denver has had at least five players score at least two goals.

Denver jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first quarter off a pair of goals from French, and a tally each from Walker, Baptiste and Pace. French gave Denver the lead a little more than five minutes into the opening quarter, but his opener was answered by two goals from the Red Storm to give the home team a 2-1 lead with 3:43 to go in the first quarter. French started a 6-0 run with 1:51 to go in the first, followed by Walker’s 25th goal of the season with 45 seconds to go, Baptiste’s eighth goal of the season with 39 seconds to go and Pace’s eighth of the campaign to end the first quarter scoring with eight ticks left.

Junior Connor Donahue (Groton, Mass.) opened the second quarter scoring to continue the Denver run with his eighth of the season to make it 6-2, and sophomore Quinn McKone (Novato, Calif.) found the back of the net for the first time in his career to end the run at 7-2. The Red Storm closed out the first half on a 4-2 run to bring the margin back to 9-6 at the intermission. Pace added his second goal of the game in the second quarter and Jackson converted Denver’s second of two man-up chances with his 13th of the campaign.

Heller got St. John’s on the board to start the second half to cut the Pioneers lead to 9-7. Denver responded with a 6-1 run that carried over into the fourth quarter. Cannizzaro, Jackson and sophomore Nate Marano (Tustin, Calif.) found the back of the net in the first of two 3-0 runs. After a Joe Madson tally for the Red Storm, Cannizzaro netted a pair and Walker added his second of the day in the second 3-0 run to make it 15-8 Denver with 10:57 to go in regulation.

Madsen found the back of the net for the second time in the second half to stop the Pioneers run, but two more goals from Cannizzaro extended Denver’s lead out to eight at 17-9 with 7:38 to go in the final stanza. St. John’s ended the game on a 3-1 run in the final 2:52, but the Pioneers cruised to their 19th-straight win in BIG EAST regular season play.

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