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MLAX Season Preview Part 2: Deep Midfield Provides Denver Offense Early Season Options

Jan. 26, 2018

Season Preview Part I | 2018 Season Tickets | 2018 Schedule |

Denver Athletics Ticket Office | Pioneer Movement

DENVER – Heading into his 12th season with the University of Denver men’s lacrosse program, and his ninth teamed up with Hall of Fame head coach Bill Tierney, Matt Browns top-five offense returns all but three primary pieces from a 2017 roster that was one of the few around the country to play three midfield lines consistently throughout the course of the campaign. In 2018, Brown’s offense could rotate 9-12 midfielders every game. 

Brown, who suited up in Crimson and Gold from 2002-05, continues to coach his way out of the DU Division I Record book as a player (having fallen out of the top-10 in points last year - 137 in 56 games) with the success of his offenses. Denver has finished in the top 10 in national scoring in each of the last seven years, in the top five in six out of seven years and as high as third in the country twice (2014 and 2016). Founder of both the Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League which has now also expanded to the National Collegiate Box Series, Brown was inducted into the Colorado Lacrosse Hall of Fame on Memorial Day Weekend in 2017.

Offensive Midfield


 

 

DU’s 2018 offensive captain Connor Donahue (Groton, Mass.) and junior Colton Jackson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) return to Denver’s first midfield after both finishing in the top-5 on the team in points last year. Jackson will become a three-year starter on February 10th after posting 51 points in the first half of his career on 41 goals and 10 assists. Donahue, who will start in the midfield for the second year after playing attack in 2016, also reached the half-century mark in career points in 2017, entering his final campaign with 25 goals and 25 assists.

Sophomore Danny Logan (Upper Arlington, Ohio) played in all 17 games in his rookie season, starting the year on Brown’s second midfield before being converted to a short stick defensive midfielder in the second half of the year. Logan will continue to take faceoff wings with co-captain Sean Mayle (San Carlos, Calif.), but could see time in Denver’s offensive midfield again in 2018.

Johns Hopkins transfer Drew Supinski (Collegeville, Pa.) comes over to Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium after two seasons out east. Supinski was the No. 4 rated freshman ahead of the 2016 season by Inside Lacrosse, including the No. 2 midfielder. In his rookie season, Supinski scored eight times and assisted on four other goals in eight starts before missing the rest of the season due to injury.  

A year ago, Denver’s third-midfield line went as far as scoring three of Denver’s eight goals in its national semifinal loss to eventual National Champion, Maryland. That trio of senior Joe Reid (Petaluma, Calif.), senior Jeremy Bosher (Kamloops, B.C.) and junior Nate Marano (Tustin, Calif.) could be confused for the Mighty Ducks’ Bash Brothers trio of Greg Goldberg, Fulton Reed and Dean Portman when they all check in over six-foot and track from 200 to 230 pounds. The Pioneers’ Bash Brothers combined for 28 of their 32 career points in 2017, scoring 22 times from the third midfield last season.

Junior Quinn McKone (Novato, Calif.) and redshirt-senior Connor Flynn (Charlotte, N.C.) teamed up with graduated Max Planning (Alexandria, Va.) on the second midfield in 2017. McKone enters the second half of his career with 20 career appearances, while Flynn enters his fifth year coming off his best season as a Pioneer, netting four goals and providing four helpers.

Sophomore Kyle Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) has provided a spark in the preseason and will also compete for time in the top-three midfield units in 2018.

Redshirt-freshmen Zach Hutchko (Charlotte, N.C.) also returns after missing last season with an injury, and the Pioneers have added freshmen Aaron Boyd (Denver, Colo.), Riley Curtis (Brampton, Ontario), Ted Sullivan (Tucson, Ariz.) and Jack Hannah (Milford, Ohio) to this year’s roster to add to the offensive depth.

Attack

Last year’s leading scorer and 2016 Tewaaraton Award Finalist Connor Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) came to Denver after his freshman year at Maryland and had the opportunity to lead Denver to a National Championship with his brother Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) in 2015. In the following two seasons, Connor Cannizzaro became the second-highest point getter (225) in DU’s Division I history, while finishing third in goals (145). Finishing just 30 points behind Denver’s first Tewaaraton Finalist Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) with just three seasons as a Pioneer, it’s safe to say Connor has a spot on the Mount Rushmore of attackman to come to the Mile High City.  

Despite Cannizzaro’s departure, a Denver offense that finished fifth in the country in scoring (13.47), 10th in man-up offense (0.456), second in scoring margin (+4.71), 12th in assists per game (7.59) and fourth in shooting percentage (0.348) returns four of its top-five point getters from a year ago. As mentioned previously, Jackson and Donahue were two of the Denver midfielders in that top five.

Sophomore attackman Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) led Denver in his rookie season with a DU-freshman record 72 points on 40 goals and 32 assists. Walker’s 40 goals were second on the team to only Cannizzaro’s 42. The Culver Military Academy product had nine hat tricks in his freshman campaign and finished with at least five points in nine games.

Junior attackman Austin French (Danville, Calif.) quarterbacked the Denver attack a year ago, starting all 17 games at X in 2017 after spending 2016 in Denver’s offensive midfield. French finished with 47 points on 28 goals and 19 helpers, and was first in the country in shooting percentage a year ago, finishing at a 51.9% clip. Now an upperclassman, French has 11 career games with multiple goals, including 10 in 2017.

The third attack position has been fought for in the preseason and could come down to a competition between senior Colton McCaffrey (Parker, Colo.) and junior Colin Rutan (Walnut Creek, Calif.). McCaffrey scored five times and added two assists in nine games as Denver’s fourth attackman a year ago, battling injury in the second half of the campaign. Rutan tallied six points in limited minutes in his rookie campaign on four goals and two assists, including a tally in Denver’s NCAA Quarterfinal win over Notre Dame.

Veterans Grant Gravitt (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Ross Komenda (Issaquah, Wash.) and sophomore Samuel Harnisch (Huntington Beach, Calif.) will return to compete for time. The Pioneers also added Thomas Tenney (Bedford, N.Y.), Thomas Semple (Coquitlam, B.C.) and Schuyler Blair (Huntington Beach, Calif.) to the roster in the offseason.

UP NEXT:

The University of Denver men’s lacrosse team, Presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, will host Delaware on Saturday, February 3, at 11:30 a.m. MT. DU will officially open the 2018 campaign on February 10 with a trip to Air Force. Faceoff of the season opener is set at 1 p.m., and can be heard live on 104.3 The Fan.

TICKETS: 

For all Denver Athletics ticket inquires, call 303-871-GOAL (4625). Season tickets for the 2018 season are on sale now for $80 and can be purchased here.

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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