The No. 6 Denver Pioneers have had a wildly successful 2011 season, but just a few more obstacles remain for them to reach the top of the college lacrosse scene. The first challenge comes on Saturday afternoon when they face the No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers at 2:00 p.m. MT.
The Cavaliers defeated Bucknell in overtime to open the tournament and then upset No. 2 Cornell, 13-9, in the quarterfinals. The Cavaliers recently had five players named to various All-American teams, led by First-Team All-American attacker Steele Stanwick and his 29 goals and 35 assists. He has six goals and nine assists in the tournament.
The Pioneers are led by Second-Team All-American attacker Mark Matthews and his 69 points. He has four goals and three assists in the tournament. Senior Todd Baxter will also be a key part of the Pioneers offense, but a knee injury and an ankle sprain could limit him in the game. Freshman goalkeeper Jamie Faus was an Honorable Mention All-American and has provided many key saves throughout the tournament. Cameron Flint and Alex Demopoulos will also be heavy contributors.
College Crosse believes Stanwick and Demopoulos will be the key players in this contest:
There are two guys to really pay attention to: Stanwick and Demopoulos. If these two guys are moving the ball well, there's a really good chance that their offenses are going to be chugging along. I'd especially try and spotlight the Stanwick-Bocklet relationship as well as how Demopoulos is working with Matthews. Those are your barometer combinations.
Tune into ESPN2 or visit ESPN3.com to see all the action. This is going to be a great game to watch.
Please visit College Crosse for more on the 2011 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament.