Talk about a Cinderella story! To progress forward, one must pick up where they left off. That’s very literal for the DU Pioneers, who after ending their 2014 run with a loss to the Duke Blue Devils will consecutively open their 2015 season against that same opponent.
This is ‘Clash of the Titans’ for a few reasons. For one, Duke is traditionally a powerhouse of lacrosse. In all 2015 preseason polls, Duke was ranked fifth and sixth due to the amount of young players their roster holds this year. As seen against both Air Force and High Point that’s not necessarily a weak point.
Though their roster is youthful, it is also full of depth. Duke has been able to win their first two competitions of 2015 relying on the depth of their roster, using it for fresh legs and opponent mismatches that lead to goals.
Duke just repeated their Championship Titles in 2013 and 2014. I don’t think they’ll three-peat in 2015; I do think Denver will play a big role in that.
Denver is hungry. Just like titans, they have been training harder than ever in the weight room, on the field, and in the organization of their program overall. The Pioneers have both a roster depth equivalent to Duke’s, however, Denver’s roster boasts a few more seasoned players in their senior, super-senior and junior years.
The Pioneers are due for a victory over Duke. As a firm believer in history trends repeat themselves, out of the last four meetings between these two schools, Denver won the first two (2012 and 2013) and Duke topped the second pair (2014 regular season and Final Four).
Also in Denver’s favor, the game is at a neutral site: Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. Since Denver became a Division-I program in 1999 they’ve won 9 of their 16 season openers, and are 50-50 in openers at neutral sites (1-1).
Unfortunately, Denver is 15-1 in home openers. I say unfortunately because they are opening away this season, where in true-away-openers they stand 6-10.
As noted on the team’s website, Denver returns a fantastic roster: eight starters and 32 letter winners. Under Tierney’s experienced and genius leadership, and alongside 2015 captains Sean Cannizzaro, Wesley Berg and Carson Cannon, this squad is ready to rumble.
Spectators should expect an outright battle between the two teams tomorrow. Denver is looking for revenge, season-starting momentum and low-altitude benefits. Duke tries to defend their prestige. When a team is desperate, they should be extremely feared. Denver is desperate to start their 2015 season with a BANG! and should be a concern for opponents all season.
Weather seems to be ideal for Kennesaw, 56 degrees with no chance of precipitation, light winds, and fairly low humidity.
Denver beats down Duke 15-12, the opposite score of their 2014 loss. (Duke 15 – Denver 12, 2014 SemiFinal loss).