Setting a new single-game freshman record with eight points on three goals and five assists, Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ontario) led the No. 2 DU men’s lacrosse team in a 12-2 victory over the No. 20 Providence College Friars on Saturday, April 22 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on senior day.
Defeating the (9-5, 3-1 BIG EAST) Friars, the (10-2, 4-0 BIG EAST) Pioneers clinched their fourth consecutive BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and earned the No. 1 seed for the BIG EAST Tournament over the conference hosts and only other unbeaten conference team prior to Saturday’s contest: the Friars.
Denver’s dynamic offense dismantled the Friars’ reputable defense who was ranked No. 8 and relinquished an average of 7.86 goals per game.
“I’m not going to take all the credit here,” Walker said. “It’s a whole team effort, especially on the offensive side of things. We have a great offensive unit. When we get the ball moving and have hard dodges, that’s how we become successful. I think that was a big key today.”
The first quarter was quiet from both sides before sophomore attack Austin French (Danville, California) buried a feed from Walker to score the sole goal of the opening frame. Walker sparked a five goal run for the Pioneers at 11:51 of the second quarter. Walker had a hand in five of Denver’s six goals in the half, while the Friars remained scoreless at intermission.
The Pioneers scored 13 seconds into the second-half, as long-stick midfielder Sean Mayle (San Carlos, California) extended Denver’s lead to 7-0 off of a Walker feed. The Friars finally snapped Denver’s scoring streak, getting on the board with back-to-back goals 3:11 and 7:42 into the quarter.
Denver continued its ascendance in the final quarter, boasting another five-goal run.
“Holding a team under 10 goals is always a plus,” junior faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste (Denville, New Jersey) said. “Holding them to two goals is even better. We all came together and it seemed like we were all on the same page out there.”
Baptiste completed the afternoon with 11-for-17 faceoff wins and collected four ground balls.
Denver was still without sophomores Dylan Johnson (Englewood, Colorado) and Dylan Gaines (Baltimore, Maryland) in the starting defensive lines due to injuries. Johnson substituted in for his first game since sustaining the injury but didn’t make the starting lineup.
“I thought the guys dug in today,” DU Head Coach Bill Tierney said. “They allowed Alex [Ready] to see shots, and he’s very good at stopping them. It’s interesting that our defense had such a good day because it was a struggle [on offense]against a very, very good defense.”
Denver closes out the 2017 regular season with a road game at Marquette University on Saturday, April 29. Faceoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. MT.