DENVER – Sophomore Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, British) recorded career-highs in points (9) and goals (8) as the No. 4 seeded University of Denver men’s lacrosse team defeated Albany 19-14 Saturday evening in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. With the victory, the Pioneers move to 13-4 on the season and advance to take on North Carolina in the quarterfinals in Indianapolis, Ind. Albany finishes its season with a 13-5 record.
The game was played in front of a record crowd of 2,621 fans, surpassing the previous record of 2,575 that was set in 2011 as the Pioneers hosted Villanova in the first-ever NCAA Tournament game played West of the Mississippi.
The game brought Berg’s season tallies to 52 goals and 67 points.
Freshman Gordie Koerber (Baltimore, Md.) ended the evening with three assists and sophomore Eric Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) recorded one goal and three assists. Sophomore Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) scored a pair of goals. Senior Chase Carraro (Louisville, Ky.) won 22-of-35 face-offs and finished with nine ground balls.
Lyle Thompson led the Great Danes with four goals and one assist, while Miles Thompson finished with one goal and five assists. Ty Thompson tallied three goals. Tim Cox scored two goals, while Derrick Eccles and Matt Garziano ended with one goal and one assist apiece.
Albany found the net first 2:30 into the game, but the Pioneers responded less than 30 seconds later with a goal from Cannizzaro to tie the contest. The Great Danes retook the lead with a pair of tallies, before back-to-back goals from Berg and Law brought the score to 3-3 with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, and the teams ended the period with the score level.
Cox found the net for Albany to give the Great Danes a 4-3 edge early in the second frame, but Berg recorded two straight goals to give DU its first lead of the game with 9:37 left in the second quarter. The edge didn’t last long, however, as Albany retied the contest just over 40 seconds later, but Berg returned the advantage to the Pioneers with his fourth goal of the game, 5:30 before the intermission. Denver parlayed Berg’s tally into four unanswered goals, before the Great Danes scored the final goal of the period, and the Pioneers took a 9-6 lead into halftime.
Albany opened the scoring in the second half, as Cox found the net less than three minutes into the third quarter. Law answered to put the Pioneers in double-figures with a score of 10-7, but the Great Danes hit the target seven seconds later to cut the lead back to two. Berg completed the sock-trick with just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, and then tallied his second-straight score to give DU a 12-8 lead. The Great Danes responded with two-straight goals, but Flint broke the run with two minutes left in the third frame, sparking a 3-0 DU run to close the period.
Flint scored first in the fourth quarter to stretch DU’s run to four unanswered, but the Great Danes answered with two goals of their own, before Flint tallied his second score of the frame to give DU a 17-12 lead three-minutes into the period. Albany came back with a pair of goals, but the Pioneers held on for the five-goal victory, as Berg and Flint scored the final two goals for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers will face North Carolina on Sunday, May 19 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis at either 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. MT. The game will air live on ESPNU/WatchESPN.
- The Pioneers’ attendance of 2,621 sets the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium record for largest crowd. Previous record was 2,575 was set during the 2011 NCAA Tournament First Round game against Villanova.
- Wesley Berg was one point shy of tying the DU Single-Game Record for most points in a game as he finished with nine off eight goals and one assist. Both set new career highs for the sophomore who previously had scored seven goals in a game against Penn on March 2, 2013.
- Berg’s seven goals marks his third career sock trick, ranking him third in the nation among active scorers with six or more goals in a game.
- Eric Law’s four goals ties a season high for the senior and is good for his 13th career hat trick.
- Cameron Flint’s four goals ties his career-high for goals in a game and is good for his 14th career hat trick.
- The Pioneers advance to their third straight quarterfinals appearance under coach Tierney. Denver is now 4-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, 3-3 in first round games.
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