Denver Continues to Dominate


by Ryan Hayes

The 2016 Denver University men’s lacrosse team has proven to the entire country that they should not be taken lightly. After their 2015 NCAA championship title, the Pioneers have battled day-in and day-out and usually come out on top. With the graduation of Senior Midfielder Wesley Berg, who scored 58 goals and dished out 20 assists, and Senior Midfielder Erik Adamson, who scored 35 goals and accounted for 9 assists, they needed players to step up. Aside from these two players, the Pioneers were led by several underclassmen, and they have continued to lead the team this year.

When asked about the Denver lacrosse team, Senior Brady Hiltner said, “Denver is a very good team, but they lack depth.”

Three big contributors for Denver this year have been Connor Cannizzaro, Tyler Pace and Zach Miller. Cannizzaro and Miller have been nominated for the Tewaaraton Award, which is awarded to the best player in Division 1 lacrosse, along with their teammate Sophomore Midfielder Trevor Baptiste.

Connor Cannizzaro has been on a roll lately, scoring 4 goals and giving out an assist in Denver’s 14-11 win against Marquette. He is currently 12th in the country for Division 1 players in total points with 61, and he is also 10th in the country for total goals with 40 goals.

Zach Miller has also been an outstanding leader for the Pioneers. Although he isn’t having as good of a year as he did last year, he is still performing very well. He currently has 37 points, scoring 19 goals and giving out 18 assists. He was moved to midfield this year and that is most likely the reason he isn’t having as good of a year compared to his 60 point season the year before. All in all, he has been a big catalyst for Denver’s success this year.

Finally, possibly the most important player on Denver’s team is Trevor Baptiste. Baptiste is incredibly gifted at the faceoff. In their game against Marquette, he went 19-28 on faceoffs. Faceoffs are a pivotal part of a team’s offense, and Baptiste is one of the best in the country at it. What’s interesting about Baptiste is how he was actually recruited by Denver. During the winter of his senior year, he had verbally committed to Division 3 Franklin and Marshall (F&M), located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since F&M is Division 3, Baptiste never signed a National Letter of Intent, which meant that coaches could still contact him about recruiting. A Denver coach saw him play at one of his club lacrosse tournaments and offered him a spot to play at Denver, so he decommitted from F&M and signed with Denver.

“The face-off position is one of the most important positions in the game of lacrosse. You need a good face-off man in order to win games,” said Senior Sean Sullivan.

Denver continues to dominate this year, and they are looking to win another national championship. With their regular season ending, their next game is against Providence. Denver is the favorite to win the championship again this year. This year, the NCAA Lacrosse Championships can be seen at Lincoln Financial in Philadelphia, PA.