Denver faces Notre Dame in quarterfinal

Denver Pioneers vs Air Force Falcons in NCAA D1 action. (Photo credit: Ian Neadle)
Denver Pioneers vs Air Force Falcons in NCAA D1 action. (Photo credit: Ian Neadle)

What a wild first round of lacrosse: Denver coasted past Air Force while Notre Dame fought past Marquette. The latest in lacrosse rivalries continues this Saturday on Long Island in New York when they clash at Hofstra University.

Denver’s impact players made a stand against Air Force when they beat them on transition and back door dumps. Notre Dame rode on the shoulders of Brendan Gleason and Mikey Wynne while Sergio Perkovic was more an offensive distraction.

Five of the last seven matches between these two programs have gone into sudden death overtime, with the Pioneers winning five of those meetings overall. In their last matchup in Denver during the regular season the game winning goal came down to a buzzer beating dive from around back by team standout Connor Cannizzaro; a little too much luck to depend on going into a playoff quarter-final.

Denver needs to be able to stop the fast break and handle pressure defensively in order to shut down the Fighting Irish. If they allow Perkovic to become intimidating, then that will open the opportunities for dump assists. However, they must prevent Perkovic from shooting inside of 15 yards. It will be a tough, delicate balance.

If Notre Dame can withstand a settled Pioneer offense and stay organized on slides and coverages, they will shut down the Denver offense. DU should look to make extra cuts and motions on offense to mess up Irish communication. On the Irish offense, they must look to break down fast breaks and get Alex Ready uncomfortable.

Game time is 2:30EST/12:30MDT on Saturday May 20.