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[5/5] Denver Wins BIG EAST Crown with 18-11 Win Over [16/17] Marquette

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WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- The [5/5] University of Denver men's lacrosse team claimed the outright BIG EAST Conference regular season title with an 18-11 victory over [16/17] Marquette in both team's 2015 regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Hart Park.

Talk about the three opportunities for championships, and the BIG EAST regular season the first one," head coach Bill Tierney said. "I'm really proud of the way our guys came out of the locker room today and jumped on a really good team. Trevor [Baptiste] got us the ball a bunch, and I thought our team put in a great effort in the first half to get the lead, and ultimately win the ball game."

Tewaaraton nominee Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) led Denver with four goals and an assist on Saturday afternoon, while fellow Tewaaraton nominee Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) added four points, including three goals for the sophomore. Classmate Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.) had three assists to go along with his 18th goal of the season.

DU's third Tewaaraton nominee, freshman Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.), won 18-26 faceoffs on the afternoon, while

Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American Zach Miller (Steamburg, N.Y.) chipped in another three-point day with a goal and two helpers. Senior goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) made seven saves in his 11th win of the season.

Pioneers (11-2, 5-0 BIG EAST) opened the regular season finale with the first three goals inside the first four minutes, including two from Cannizzaro. Berg added his 32nd of the season in the stretch. DU quickly answered a Kyle Whitlow goal with both Pace and Miller's 18th goals of the season to give Denver a 5-1 lead heading into the first quarter break. Pace added three assists to his afternoon to finish with three points.

Denver exploded for the first eight goals of the second quarter, making it a 13-1 run to start the game, the Pioneers fourth 10-1 run or better in a game this season. Baptiste started off the second-quarter scoring seven seconds into the period with his sixth of the year directly off a faceoff. Miller's second of the game and senior Erik Adamson's (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) 15th career man-up goal made it 8-1 Denver with 12:43 to play in the second. Adamson's goal was the 100th of his career.

The Pioneers then got their next five goals from five different players as senior Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) Berg, sophomore Jake Woodring (Eden Prairie, Minn.), sophomore Max Planning (Alexandria, Va.), junior Bryce Parietti (Centennial, Colo.) all found the back of the net in a 7:40 stretch.

Marquette (10-5, 3-2 BIG EAST) finished the half on a 3-0 run to cut the halftime lead to 13-4. For Denver, 10 different players scored in the first half, including two apiece from Berg, Miller and Connor Cannizzaro.

The Maryland-transfer opened the second half scoring, completing his ninth hat trick of the season and the 13th of his career from the door step off a cross-crease feed from Adamson. Berg completed his hat trick in the third quarter as well, the 25th of his four-year career.

Sean Cannizzaro opened the fourth-quarter scoring with his second of the afternoon off Pace's third assist of the day to make it 16-7 Pioneers with under 11 minutes to play in the fourth.

"I'm proud of some of the `other' guys that scored today," Tierney said. "We can be very tough to cover when we play unselfishly, and when we spread the scoring around like we did today. I'm really proud of the effort to come out here today and get a good win."

No. 1 seed Denver will take on No. 4 seed Villanova Thursday in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship Presented by New York Life at 7 p.m. ET/5 p.m. MT in Villanova, Pa. Both of Thursday's semifinals can be seen live on the BIG EAST Digital Network.

Tickets are on sale now for the 2015 NCAA Quarterfinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Fans can purchase tickets for the quarterfinal games at the link here.

Notes:

  • Bill Tierney is now 349-118 all-time (31st season) and 77-25 at DU (sixth season).
  • Denver is now 11-0 in its two seasons in BIG EAST play.
  • Wes Berg increased his team-leading active-point streak to 32 games (entered week 12th in nation), while Zach Miller increased his to 31 (entered week 16th in the nation).
  • With four points today, Connor Cannizzaro (64 on season) moved into fifth on Denver's single-season points list (record is 78).
  • With one assist today, Cannizzaro (25) stayed in sixth on Denver's single-season assists list (36).
  • With one assist today, Zach Miller (26) stayed in fifth on Denver's single-season assists list (36).
  • With 18 faceoff wins today, Trevor Baptiste (220) moved into third on Denver's single-season faceoff wins list (242).
  • Denver is now 32-9 as a top-5 team, including 12-2 as the No. 5 team.
  • The Pioneers 2015 regular season championship is the program's fifth in the last six years (first three in ECAC).
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