Later today, the Villanova lacrosse team will head to University of Denver to play the sixth seeded Pioneers who have won ten straight games. The game will be the first ever NCAA lacrosse tournament game played west of the Mississippi River.
A glance at Denver:
- Denver's adjusted offensive efficiency of 36.86 ranks second in the nation. By comparison, the national average is 27.92, and Villanova's is 33.63.
- Denver prefers to play at a significantly faster pace than Villanova.
- They'll be without Todd Baxter, their captain and third leading scorer for the game.
- Their coach, Bill Tierney is known for his historically stingy defenses, even though offense has been his team's calling card this season.
Senior Co-Captain Brian Karalunas, LSM
What will it be like going into the NCAA tournament having been there once before in 2009? Our team has a lot of confidence going into this week. Having been there once before, I don’t think that we will go in with the same feeling of just being happy to be there. We want to win and we know we have the talent to do it.
How have practices been this week going into the tournament? We have practiced very well so far. We focused on basics the first half of this week and today start to look at a lot of Denver’s schemes and personnel. It will be a lot of teaching from here on.
How has the regular season prepared you for Denver? We played one of the hardest schedules in the country this year so we will be prepared for another great team. Having played in so many close games, our team feels confident in the fourth quarter.
What are you expecting to see from a team like Denver? I know that they have an explosive offense we will need to contain.
What did it feel like hearing Villanova called during the selection show? It was a relief. The team knew that we deserved to be in but they really made us sweat it out on the selection show. The team is ecstatic to have the opportunity to continue our season.
Senior Co-Captain Chris Ficke, Defense
What does this game mean to Villanova Lacrosse? It’s an awesome opportunity in a great atmosphere and against a great team to try and win our first NCAA tournament game. It’s monumental for our program and I know we are all looking forward to it.
What are you looking forward to about the trip? Traveling with the team is always fun and add to that the excited me of a first round tournament game against a great opponent, what’s not to look forward too?
How does it feel going back to the NCAA tournament after being there in 2009? It’s great, gaining an at-large bid was a great accomplishment and our team is looking forward to competing against Denver for our first tournament win.
What do you expect from a team like Denver? They are a very talented team that is well coached and going to play extremely hard, it’s going to be a great challenge but I know we are all looking forward to it.
As a senior, what emotions do you have about this game? I am excited for the game and grateful for another opportunity to be on that field with my teammates.
College Crosse Previews:
5:15 PM ET on ESPNU