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Denver Knocks Off No. 7 Notre Dame 9-7 in NCAA First Round

May 13, 2018

Box Score | Photos | 2018 Schedule | Pioneer Movement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Junior Alex Ready (Lancaster, Pa.) turned in Denver's first double-digit save performance of the season in his first start since March 10, junior attack Austin French (Danville, Calif.) tallied a game-high six points and sophomore attack Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) netted his 18th-career hat trick to lead the University of Denver men's lacrosse team to a 9-7 win over seventh-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium.


The victory booked the Pioneers' ticket to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the seventh time in the last eight years. Denver's win over Notre Dame is its third in the NCAA Tournament in the last four years (2015 Semifinals, 2017 Quarterfinals), and stopped Notre Dame's eight-season streak of reaching the quarterfinals, the longest active streak in the country heading into the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Denver was also the first road team to win in this year's tournament's first six games.


Senior faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) finished 14-for-20 from the dot with 10 ground balls, including 8-of-10 in the second half and 5-of-5 in the fourth quarter. Senior attack Colton McCaffrey (Parker, Colo.) had two points on Denver's first three possessions with a goal and an assist and junior midfielder Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) finished with a pair of goals for the first time since Denver's April 21st win at Providence. Junior Dylan Gaines (Baltimore, Md.) led Denver's close defense with three caused turnovers.

Following a regular season meeting that saw Notre Dame race out to a 6-1 lead in the first quarter, Denver controlled the pace of play in the opening period on Sunday. French opened the scoring with his 27th of the year with 13:18 remaining in the first off a feed from McCaffrey. French returned the favor 1:09 later for McCaffrey's 11th of the season to double the Pioneers early lead. After 12:01 without a goal, Ryder Garnsey got the Irish on the board with eight seconds to go in the opening quarter in transition off a Denver turnover.

Denver won the second quarter 3-2 to extend its lead to 5-3 at the intermission. Walker scored two nifty low-to-high goals in the center of the field for his 45th and 46th of the season, after being held without a point for the first time in his career last week in the BIG EAST Final against Georgetown. Garnsey got his second of the day with six minutes to play in the second, but French quickly answered to push the Denver lead back to three at 5-2. Garnsey finished off a first-half hat trick with 2:47 to go in the second to cut the Denver lead to the halftime margin at 5-3. Notre Dame had the best opportunity in the final 2:47, but junior close defenseman Dylan Johnson (Englewood, Colo.) threw a well-timed stick check with the Irish on a two-man advantage, and the Pioneers completed the clear.  

Notre Dame evened things up through 45 minutes on Sunday thanks to a 3-1 third quarter. Garnsey got his fourth of the day to start the scoring in the frame, and Notre Dame's first of two extra-man goals in the third quarter. Jackson got his first in the last four games to take Denver's lead up to 6-4, but Notre Dame got the final two goals of the quarter with tallies from Mikey Wynne and Bryan Costabile to send the two teams into the final 15 minutes even at 6-6.

Costabile netted his 30th of the season with 11:38 to go to give the Irish their first lead of the game, but Walker answered 15 seconds later to even the score at 7-7 with 11:23 to go. Walker's goal started a 3-0 run for the Pioneers that also included French's 29th of the year with 10:12 remaining and Jackson's second of the game to make it 9-7 with 4:04 to go. Ready's 10th save of the day came on Costabile's search for a hat trick.

UP NEXT: The University of Denver men's lacrosse team, Presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, will head back to Hempstead for the second-straight year for the NCAA Quarterfinals, this time to take on second-seeded Albany on Saturday. The faceoff time will be announced by the NCAA following tonight's remaining first round games. Saturday's game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN Denver 1600.  

Fans interested in making a donation to the men's lacrosse program can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.

Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:

Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
2201 E. Asbury Avenue 
Denver, CO 80208  

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