Collegecrosse.com published a great story on Tuesday that Denver lacrosse fans should make sure and check out. The author draws some very interesting parallels between the 1970's Cornell lacrosse teams that dominated the decade. Up until that point, lacrosse was a sport dominated by the Baltimore area, an area that didn't give much respect to the burgeoning scene in New York state until the Big Red forced them to do so.
Today, the sport is regarded as a Northeastern sport, rightly so with a large majority of the programs residing there. However, this years DU team is proving that the quantity in that region doesn't prove that teams from out west can't make an impact as well.
A growing pocket of the game, Colorado has not only produced players that can contribute at the Division I level, but has also fostered program growth that is most notably seen at the University of Denver. Colorado State has, since recent memory, been a serious contender in the MCLA. We all may be sleeping a bit on how good Colorado lacrosse -- and, residually, Denver Pioneers lacrosse -- really is.
It's all about scheduling for Denver. Hell, it took the Pioneers until their game against Duke on Long Island for many folks to realize just how good Denver could be. Tucked away in the ECAC and forced to grab games whenever and wherever they can, they rarely have the opportunity to have the spotlight shined on them. Instead of getting one or two games a year against established programs, if Denver was able to get three or four, I think we'd have a better sense of that program's momentum.
Even after Denver's run toward the end of the season (including the destruction of Duke), the Pioneers still had work to do to convince everyone that their club was among the elite this season. There was much chatter about the Pioneers' seeding in the NCAA Tournament and whether they deserved it or not. As Denver has shown throughout the post-season, such worry was moot.
Even if the Pioneers are able to pull off the shocker and win this year's NCAA Tournament, it will still take years of consistent success for the lacrosse program to be spoken about in the same breath as the Syracuse, Johns Hopkins and Princeton's of the world, but it will be a heck of a good start.