Denver Pioneers, Notre Dame joined by Maryland, Johns Hopkins in lacrosse semis
Denver coach Bill Tierney will coach in the Final Four for the 14th time
Two men’s lacrosse upsets Sunday sent Maryland and Johns Hopkins to the NCAA Final Four, joining Notre Dame and the University of Denver at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field for Saturday’s national semifinals.
The Pioneers, who are on an NCAA-leading 11-game winning streak, will face the Fighting Irish at 11 a.m. in a rematch of DU’s 11-10 overtime victory March 7 in Denver. The Terrapins and Blue Jays will meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and both games will be televised by ESPN2.
The national championship is Monday, May 25 (11 a.m., ESPN2).
Maryland, Notre Dame and Denver also advanced to the Final Four in 2014, with Duke beating the Fighting Irish in the annual Memorial Day championship.
Sunday, a day after the No. 1-seeded Fighting Irish and No. 4 Pioneers advanced at the Denver-hosted quarterfinal, the No. 6 Terrapins beat No. 3 North Carolina 14-7 and the unseeded Blue Jays topped No. 2 Syracuse 16-15 in Annapolis, Md.
The NCAA seeds only the top eight teams in its 16-team national tournament; the remaining eight played a first-round game on the road. There also were two play-in games to get into the bracket.
Johns Hopkins opened with a 19-7 upset at No. 7 Virginia.
Bill Tierney will coach in the Final Four for the 14th time, the fourth with the Pioneers. He won six NCAA titles at Princeton.
After rallying from a 7-1 deficit to defeat Ohio State 15-13 on Saturday, Tierney said he has always regularly talked to his players about winning the national title.
“We talk about it on the first day our freshmen walk in the door, because if you don’t shoot for the moon, you’re not going to reach any stars,” Tierney said. “We put demands on our young people that they can go to other places and have a heck of a lot more fun. We put demands on them about their behavior, what they look like, what they act like, how they dress, how they practice, and I think that bears itself out.”
Tierney said DU is in championship-or-bust mode.
“I’m OK. I’ve been there,” he said. “But these kids and this university deserves a national championship.”
Footnotes. DU and Maryland advanced to the Final Four for the fourth time in five years. Pioneers leading scorer Connor Cannizzaro (55 goals in 17 games) played for Maryland last season and was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. … Despite an ominous bank of dark clouds Saturday and a lighting delay early in a lacrosse doubleheader at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the NCAA quarterfinal drew 13,076 fans, sixth highest all time. The record is 17,017 at the 2008 quarterfinal in Annapolis, when host Navy participated. … DU will have Monday off, practice Tuesday and travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Mike Chambers: [email protected] or twitter.com/mikechambers