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2014 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Denver Demolishes Drexel, Heads to Third Final Four

The Pioneers doused Drexel in gasoline and lit the Dragons on fire.

Drew Hallowell

Denver advanced to the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament after routing unseeded Drexel, 15-6. The win sends the Pioneers to their third Championship Weekend appearance in just 16 years of Division I participation. The victory also marks Bill Tierney's 13th trip to the Final Four, leading the Pioneers to all three of their Championship Weekend adventures while earning 10 expeditions to college lacrosse's most important moment with Princeton. Drexel concludes their first tour through the NCAA Tournament as one of three programs that were unable to progress out of the quarterfinal round as an unseeded team from a one-bid conference.

The game completely changed in a brutal, 29:23 stretch where Denver turned a 2-3 deficit into a 12-4 lead. The surge -- one where the Pioneers strung together 10 consecutive goals -- was a patented push from Denver, changing the volition of the game through a dominating and efficient offensive display that ruined the entire concept of Drexel lacrosse. In that stretch (starting at the 5:35 mark of the first quarter and ending with 6:12 remaining in the third period):

  • Denver scored 10 goals on 17 possessions, using only 14 shots to unleash a concentrated laser blast that a Bond villain would consider stealing in order to take over the world. The Pios' rate of scoring -- generating tallies on 59 percent of their opportunities while shooting 71 percent (!!!!!!) -- was beyond exemplary, an experiment in physics worthy of the Nobel Prize.
  • Drexel scored one goal on 11 possessions, using 15 shots as a means to prove existence but not necessarily an existence far from a body bag. The Dragons' rate of scoring -- generating goals on nine percent of their offensive opportunities while shooting seven percent -- was the antithesis of Denver's effort, a performance that would have forced a clown with a broom to the Apollo Theater stage to satiate the cries from the crowd.
  • Denver was plus-six in possession margin in the stretch, winning eight faceoffs to Drexel's four and generating 10 defensive stops against Drexel's seven.

The Pioneers have done this all season, going on long serial killing sprees without mitigation. It's not so much that Denver is able to dominate possession that allows the Pios to press the red button on the scoreboard; rather, it's the team's offensive efficiency -- one that ranks first nationally -- that makes Denver so difficult to control.

Erik Adamson led the way for the Pios with six goals and an assist while Jeremy Noble had five points on a goal and four helpers. Ben McIntosh closed his career at Drexel with two goals and an assist.


Possession Margin -11 (24) +11 (35)
Raw Offensive Efficiency 25.00 42.86
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 21.43% 46.88%
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.17 0.91
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 29.17 31.43
Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions 23.73 42.37
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 25.71 45.83
Team Save Percentage 37.50% 64.71%