United To Fly From Denver To Grand Forks

(above) United will begin DC-3 service between Denver & Grand Forks, ND to assist families leaving the state
From: Valley News Live

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple announced today that United Airlines will begin offering humanitarian flights out of Grand Forks International Airport to Denver. This will enable more North Dakota residents to escape the harsh climate, get first-rate medical & dental care and reunite with family members who have already fled the state.

"This is good news for Grand Forks and the entire region," Dalrymple said. "North Dakota residents who are served by the Grand Forks airport will now have air passenger service to the Southwest United States."

United Airlines officials said a launch date, flight schedules and other details will be made available soon, but they are expected to offer $1 fares from Denver to Grand Forks get a few passengers on the planes heading north.

For three years running, the Grand Forks airport has set records for passenger boardings and United Airlines service will further complement the airport's new passenger terminal capabilities.

Among North Dakota's four largest airports, Grand Forks International is the only one that does not currently provide a daily, direct flight to Denver.

DU Assistant Gets Head Coaching Job

From: LaxPower.com

Furman University director of athletics Dr. Gary Clark announced today that Rachel Shuck Whitten, associate head coach at the University of Denver, has been named Furman's first women's lacrosse coach.  Furman just added women's and men's lacrosse to its Division I athletics program. The teams will begin varsity competition by the 2014-15 academic year.

"Rachel Whitten's enthusiasm, experience, and commitment to the growth of lacrosse make her the ideal inaugural head women's lacrosse coach for Furman," said Clark in making the announcement.

"I am extremely excited and honored to be named the first head coach of the Furman women's lacrosse program," said Whitten. "I am thankful to Liza Kelly and the athletic department at the University of Denver for the past six years I have been part of their staff."

Whitten, a native of Annapolis, Md., has spent the last six seasons at the University of Denver, serving as an assistant coach from 2007-11 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2012 season.

A two-time All-American at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., Whitten helped the Greyhounds advance to three straight NCAA tournaments from 2002-04, including an appearance in the 2003 Final Four.

Boone Hockey Jerseys Available Online

The first embroidered Boone hockey Jerseys will be manufactured this week.  If you order this week the turnaround time will be very short.
There are countless combinations;  red, gold or white Jerseys with either Pioneers or Denver stitched above Boone on the front.

Available in six sizes from Small to XXXL.

The company can also sew names and numbers on your jersey.

Allow 3 to 5 business days for the items to be delivered by UPS.

Video: Mark Matthews 2012 Highlight Mix

(above) The jaw dropping, incredible, amazing Mark Matthews

News & Notes From Around PioNation

Aaron MacKenzie, who played five games with the Avalanche in 2008-09 and spent four years at the University of Denver, could become the first captain of the CHL Denver Cutthroats [read entire article].
Former DU Star Joe Colborne is in the AHL Finals with the Toronto Marlies.  According to this article, quickness is what is holding Joe back from making the NHL.
Many are projecting Matt Donovan on the New York Islanders roster next season and he may even anchor their first power play unit.  Hockey's Future tabbed Donovan as the teams top AHL blueliner.
The New York Islanders website has an excellent article on current DU player Scott Mayfield.

Boone Named Best Mascot In College Lacrosse

(above) Boone was seen on ESPN yesterday
Boone showed up on ESPN's Lacrosse Tournament Highlight Package after the championship game on Sunday.  The Boone footage was captured during DU's NCAA Quarterfinal game in Navy's football stadium last week.

Al Franyo, who runs a large college lacrosse site in Baltimore on Facebook, mentioned that Boone is now the best Mascot in all of college lacrosse.

Attendance Issues May Impact Denver Lax Bid

(above) Changes may be coming to the selection criteria used to select sites for the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four that may affect Denver's chances of hosting the event at Mile High Stadium
From: Inside Lacrosse
by Jeff Jiloty

Five years of declining attendance may impact DU's ability to host an NCAA Lacrosse Final Four weekend according to Jeff Jarnecke, associate director of championships at the NCAA.

This year’s NCAA Lacrosse championship weekend attendance of 79,595 (31,774 Saturday, 17,005 Sunday and 30,816 Monday) was the lowest for the Lacrosse Final Four since 2002, the last time the event wasn’t held in an NFL stadium. And at nearly 20,000 fans off last year’s total and more than 40,000 from the high of 123,225 (52,004 for the Semifinals) who watched in Baltimore in 2007, the downward trend — weekend attendance increased every year from 2003-2007 and has decreased every year since — is definitely alarming for a sport that has seen dramatic increases in participation over the last five years.

Lacrosse fans were talking about the potential of selling out an NFL venue five years ago, and now it’s a more likely possibility that the event moves to a smaller stadium after Philadelphia (2013) and Baltimore (2014) host the next two Final Fours.

Jarnecke said that they’ll be looking at the entire event (venue size, geography, ticket prices, timing, marketing) later this year or early in 2013 when bids are accepted for the 2015 and ’16 championship weekends. Sites will be announced in the summer of 2013.

Jarnecke and Executive Director of Lacrosse at Gillette Stadium Phil Buttafuoco agree that the negative trend is substantial enough that changes need to be made.

“People are starting to make a lot of decisions that are affecting this event,” Buttafuoco said. “We need to collectively evaluate how we can get the event back on track to where we all want it to be, and identify where we can make those improvements and make a commitment to do it.”

The Final Four has rotated between 68,756-seat Gillette Stadium near Boston, 71,008-seat M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and 68,532-seat Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia over the last 10 years. Jarnecke said a 40-50,000-seat venue may be more ideal for championship weekend; he said the possibility of going back to a campus facility is a possibility as well.

When asked about the possibility of moving championship weekend outside its traditional Northeast locations, Jarnecke said the answer might have been different a year ago. Bids for the 2014 NCAA Quarterfinals are due this summer, and the sites will be announced this fall. He said it’s unlikely a non-traditional area outside the Northeast would get a Final Four without first having a Quarterfinal. Next year one Quarterfinal site is in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, the first time the NCAA has picked a site outside the Northeast for a Quarterfinal or Semifinal.

One point brought up by Buttafuoco was that rising Quarterfinal attendance (PPL Park and Navy Marine Corps Stadium both drew over 10,000 fans) could be impacting the Final Four. Jarnecke said the emphasis will always be on championship weekend and building back through the NCAA Tournament.

Denver has been a hot topic among lacrosse fans, and it was mentioned by Jarnecke when asked about championship weekend moving outside the Northeast.

“I don’t know that you’ll see us be as liberal in that approach,” he said. “There’s still an opportunity for it and the role we need to play in taking the championship to a different site. Denver is still on our mind and we’d be wide open to receiving bids and interest there, knowing that it’s an area that supports lacrosse in a big way. It’s just going to have to feed into the new strategy that we look to roll out in the next few months.”

“Were our minds and vision too grandiose a few years ago when attendance continued to rise?” Buttafuoco said. “People kept thinking we were going to hit 60,000 soon. You know what, we didn’t. And the economy tanked and people don’t have as much money anymore. So how can we reevaluate the entertainment value of this event and create more value so people will start coming back.”

Party Boy Image Follows College Lacrosse

From: Business Week 
by Curtis Eichelberger

Duke University men’s lacrosse coach John Danowski still talks to recruits’ parents about the stripper party that led to false rape allegations six years ago. 

University of Virginia coach Dom Starsia won’t grant interview requests about a former player who beat his girlfriend to death two years ago. Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala says a survey that showed lacrosse players are the biggest users of illicit drugs among college athletes was “deeply concerning.”  [read entire article].

2012 Lacrosse All-Americans Named

University of Denver lacrosse players were recognized by Inside Lacrosse today.

Mark Matthews and Chase Carraro were named 2nd Team All-American, Jeremy Noble was named 3rd Team All-American and Cam Flint was named Honorable Mention today by Inside Lacrosse.

DU Recruits Go For USHL Title Tonight

(above) DU recruit Dakota Mermis will be a mainstay on the DU blueline next season
From: Green Bay Press-Gazette
by Weston Hodkiewicz

The Green Bay Gamblers will face Waterloo tonight in a deciding Game Five for the USHL Championship. Two DU recruits, team captain Grant Arnold and Dakota Mermis play for Green Bay. Former DU assistant coach Derrek Lalonde is the head coach for the Gamblers. 

Grant Arnold never will forget May 12, 2010.

Then a first-year forward for the Green Bay Gamblers, it was that day Arnold stood before a deafening crowd at the Resch Center moments after the Gamblers defeated the Fargo Force 5-3 to capture their first USHL Clark Cup postseason championship in a decade.

All told, it took 72 games and every minute of the best-of-five championship series to put the Force away, but finally capturing that elusive championship made it every bit as memorable.

"I'll remember that night for the rest of my life," said Arnold, now a team captain in his third year with the Gamblers. "With 8,500 here and a sellout (crowd), the moment that buzzer hit zero was awesome. Hopefully, we'll do that again."

Arnold is one of three players left from the 2010 Clark Cup championship team For the last three seasons, Arnold has had front-row seats to one of the greatest runs in league history with three consecutive Clark Cup finals appearances, two Anderson Cup regular-season titles and one postseason crown.

The Gamblers split their home series with the Black Hawks last weekend before winning Game 3 in Waterloo Friday. They had a shot to close it out last Saturday, but fell 5-3 to force Game 5. 

"It's a great way to close the book of an unreal ride," said Arnold, who will play at Denver next year. "We'll definitely look back on this window and be very thankful for everything that's happened."

DU Recruit Drafted In 1st Round Of USHL Draft

DU recruit Garrett Gamez [6'0" 170 lbs.] a right winger from Los Angeles was selected in the first round of the USHL Draft today with the 8th overall selection by the Tri-Cities Storm.  Gamez will attend the University of Denver in 2014.  

Gamez turned down an opportunity to play in the USHL this past season, so that he could continue developing in California.

“We are thrilled to get Garrett,” said Storm GM/Head Coach Josh Hauge. “He was a player we tried to add around Christmas this past season, but he was a loyal kid to the team he was playing with (Jr. Kings U16).  We are excited that we are getting a character individual to come in and be a solid contributor right away.”

Next season he'll be Tri-Cities teammates with fellow Californian and DU recruit Trevor Moore.

Another 2014 recruit Dylan Gambrell [5’10, 154 lbs.] was selected with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the USHL Futures Draft by the Dubuque Fighting Saints earlier this month. Gambrell is from Seattle but spent this past season playing AAA hockey in Denver for the Colorado Thunderbirds.

DU recruit Connor Chatham was selected in the 3rd round by Omaha Lancers, but its not known if he will play for the USNDT Under 18 Team next season.
2013 Recruiting Class
F Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Chicago, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)
F Cody DePourcq (Penticton, BCHL)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Dylan Gambrell (Colorado Thunderbirds, AAA)
F Garrett Gamez (Tri-Cities, USHL)

Matthews' Goal Makes ESPN's Top 10

Baltimore Sun Rips Bill Tierney's Behavior

East Coast Bias = Refs steal the game & then the media puts Tierney on trial
By Mike Preston

Denver's Bill Tierney is arguably the best coach in college lacrosse history, but he should be careful not to tarnish his legacy. Tierney, who won six national championships at Princeton, has done a great job of turning around Denver's program in recent years, but a lot of fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday weren't applauding him. Rather, they were criticizing him for his behavior during the game.

On almost every whistle, Tierney seemed to be ranting and criticizing the officials in Denver's game against Loyola. A lot of the calls were obvious, some downright blatant, but that didn't stop Tierney from running up and down the sidelines screaming at officials. In the press box, members of the media became more entertained watching Tierney than the game. That should cause him to pause, and change his behavior.

Tierney has always been a mad man on the sidelines, and his behavior was acceptable when he was younger. But he's way too old for this stuff now. The temper tantrums are taking away from what he has done at Denver, and are becoming an embarrassment to the game. There are some opposing coaches who chide officials when they play against Denver because they don't want them to become overwhelmed or intimidated by Tierney, so they play the same game by riding the officials constantly.

Tierney is a good, polite, honest, modest Christian man. Off the field, you wouldn't be able to tell he is the same man that appears out of control on Saturday afternoons. Tierney has been great for the game of lacrosse because of his innovations and style. But at this point, he needs to modify his behavior on the sidelines. It's to the point where it might start to overshadow everything he has accomplished, and what he still might achieve.

And that would be a shame.

Operation Crabcake Deemed A Success

(above) The LetsGoDU Party Suite at the Four Seasons Baltimore
(above) Mega-Boone banner was hoisted after each DU goal
(above) Boone posed with DU fans at the pregame tailgate
(above) Baseball sized crabcakes at Mo's Seafood with Heinz "57" Sauce 
The mission sounded easy enough.  Deliver Boone and the Mega-Boone banner to Annapolis, Maryland for the NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals.  Dubbed "Operation Crabcake" in honor of the local delicacy, Boone's alumni support crew jumped into action.

With less than a week to prepare and fund the trip, its not as easy as it sounds.  Did we mention that the 2011-12 Boone Fund is massively overdrawn?

Not to worry.  An overnight flight from Denver to Baltimore with a six hour layover from 1-7 AM in Chicago was affordable. Boone would arrive in Baltimore at 9:30 AM on gameday.

A DU alumnus from New Jersey, of all places, agreed to pick up the student & gear at the airport and deliver them to Navy's football stadium in Annapolis two hours before gametime.

It all went off without a hitch.  Boone and the Mega-Boone banner were featured over a half dozen times on ESPN2.  Boone posed for hundreds of photos with alumni, children and local lacrosse fans.  And when the game was on the line, Boone rallied the fans to cheer on DU.

Not bad for an "Unofficial " Mascot.

Trevor Tierney Discusses Anger & Shame

DU's Defensive Coordinator  and assistant lacrosse coach Trevor Tierney is a pretty spiritual guy.  And he passes that wisdom onto his players.  Every Friday, the University of Denver lacrosse team gathers in a campus studio for a session of vinyasa yoga.

His blog discusses both the spiritual and physical sides of lacrosse and life.  His latest posting discusses the devastating loss to Loyola on Saturday and what he learned from it.

Four Seasons Hotels Makes Donation To DU

From: Clarion
by Gigi Sukin

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hospitality chain,  donated $50,000 to create a scholarship fund in support of students at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.

The university will match the donation, amounting to $100,000, as a part of the public phase of its 10-year ASCEND capital campaign.

Four Seasons, which Fortune magazine has named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” since 1998, has hired nearly 10 percent of its new management trainees from DU’s hospitality school in the past four years, despite over 200 similar four-year degree programs across the U.S. [read entire article].

Coach Tierney To Work In ESPN Studio

(above) Bill Tierney will work in the ESPN studios next week to offer insight into the NCAA Lacrosse Semifinals
ESPN has just announced that Studio Hosts Anish Shroff and analyst Mark Dixon will cover the National Lacrosse Semifinals from ESPNU’s Charlotte, N.C. headquarters. Bill Tierney, head coach at the University of Denver and six-time NCAA Championship coach at Princeton, will join Shroff and Dixon in studio for the coverage of the semifinals.

Mark Matthews To Begin Pro Career ASAP

Senior Mark Matthews departs the University of Denver as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 155 goals and 216 points; a career best 47 of those goals came in 2012. He will go down as one of DU's greatest if not the greatest lacrosse players to wear Crimson & Gold.

The professional Denver Outlaws must think Matthews could be one of the missing pieces to a championship formula, as they traded All-Star midfielder Max Seibald for the draft pick that was used to select Matthews. Following the draft, general manager Tony Seaman said, “We are very excited about Matthews and his potential in the MLL. It (will) be great to have a local player moving on to play professionally."

He is expected to make his professional debut on June 2 in Denver against the Chesapeake Bayhawks [read entire article].

Loyola 10 - DU Lacrosse 9 FINAL

(above) The Mega-Boone banner and Boone received plenty of facetime on ESPN2

In a year filled with close losses, the University of Denver men's lacrosse team absorbed yet another one-goal setback as its season came to an end Saturday. A fourth-quarter rally from a four-goal deficit fell short for the Pioneers, who lost 10-9 to top-seeded Loyola (Md.) before 13,390 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the NCAA quarterfinals [read entire article.

Denver Post Profiles Chase Carraro

(above) DU's fate may lay in the arms of Chase Carraro today
From: Denver Post 
by Mark Kiszla

In a sport where guys smack each other with sticks for fun, it's politely called a faceoff.

In reality, a faceoff in lacrosse is like nothing else in sports. It's as pure as a primal scream. Two players. Nowhere to hide. A competition that combines the best of a Medieval joust, the worst of mud-rasslin', and bragging rights more delicious than beating your brother to the last heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes left in a bowl at the dinner table [read entire article].

DU Lacrosse Tailgating Info This Weekend

(above) Gate 5 in the Navy Parking Lot on Saturday

DU Lacrosse Watch Parties Around USA

NCAA Quarterfinals
DU vs. Loyola
11:30 PT, 12:30 MT, 1:30 CT, 2:30 ET
Atlanta - STATS Restaurant & Bar
Boston - The Fours  
Chicago - Gaslight Bar and Grille  
Colorado Springs - Old Chicago  
Dallas - Lakewood's 1st & 10  
Denver - Boone's Tavern, Crimson & Gold and The Pioneer  
Grand Junction - Naggy McGee`s Irish Pub  
Houston - The Firkin and Phoenix Pub  
New York City - Tap Room 307  
Northern California - The Chieftain Irish Pub and Restaurant  
Phoenix - Half Moon Sports Grill  
Portland - Macadam's Bar & Grill  
Seattle - New York Pizza & Bar  
Southern California - South  
Twin Cities - The Local  
Washington, D.C. - R.F.D. Washington

Video: DU vs North Carolina Lax Highlights

(above) Highlights of last Saturday night's nationally televised lacrosse game between DU & North Carolina

ESPN: DU Alum Playing MLS For Salt Lake

(above) DU Alum Nat Borchers may be the most under-rated defenseman in Major League Soccer
From: ESPN.com 
by Jeff Carlisle

Several weeks ago, in a casual chat with an MLS assistant coach, the topic of Jamison Olave's exceptional ability came up. The assistant concurred that the Real Salt Lake defender is perhaps the league's best but quickly added, "Nat Borchers, with his ability to organize, is the guy that really makes that defense go."

That discussion could be held up as a microcosm of Borchers' career. Sure, he was an MLS Best XI selection in 2010 -- as was Olave -- when Real set an MLS single-season record for conceding the fewest goals. But in a discussion of the league's top defenders, Borchers always seems destined to be an afterthought, especially when compared to his club teammate [read entire article].

News From Around PioNation - 4.0 Edition

(above) Matt Donovan will get a shot to make the Islanders next season
DU Senior David Carle was hired this week by the USHL Green Bay Gamblers according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post
For the second straight year the DU basketball program posted an NCAA Top Ten improvement in attendance.  Not only that, but they led the Sunbelt conference in attendance.
If you count the three incoming transfers, the DU soccer program probably had its best recruiting class ever.  The next few seasons look to be extremely promising.
DU Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes discusses DU's current conference alignment issues and what the plan is going forward.

Its Time To Get Serious....About Lacrosse

Original Denver Boone To See Mascot In Annapolis

Doug Hirsh
DU alum Doug Hirsh was the original Denver Boone from 1968-1970. He  helped rally student support at both basketball and hockey games.  During his four years at DU Bill also played lacrosse with DU hockey legends Keith Magnuson and Craig Patrick.

The DU Special Events Committee held a contest in the fall of 1968 to find a nickname for the new DU Mascot.  Steve Kiley, a junior mass communications major, won the contest with the "Denver Boone" title. Doug volunteered to help out the effort and soon became the first in a long line of Denver Boones.

This weekend Doug will travel from his home in Massachusetts to watch DU play Loyola in Annapolis.  Denver Boone will be there and it should be a great reunion between the original Boone and our latest mascot.

Boone Hockey Jerseys Finally Available

You asked for it and they are FINALLY available.  You now can purchase a piece of history.

The first embroidered Boone hockey Jerseys ever produced.  There are countless combinations;  red, gold or white Jerseys with either Pioneers or Denver stitched above Boone on the front.

Available in six sizes from Small to XXXL.

The company can also sew names and numbers on your jersey.

Allow up to two weeks for your jersey to be custom manufactured and 3 to 5 business days for the items to be delivered by UPS.

Best Hotel Airfare Deals To Baltimore

We've spend all week on the internet and by far the best prices to get to Baltimore to watch the DU lacrosse team are on LastMinuteTravel.com.  You can get airfare into Washington DC and two nights at the Sheraton Inner City Baltimore for $465.08 per person based on double occupancy.

If you are just booking by yourself its $561.00 for one person's airfare & hotel.

That's far less than buying just the airfare out to Baltimore.   If you decide to go, book quickly because these deals, hotels available and the flight times change minute by minute, hour by hour.

Twitter: Denver Bronco Is DU Lacrosse Fan

Orlando Franklin, the starting Right Tackle for the Denver Broncos, is a DU Lacrosse Fan.  Born in Jamaica, Franklin attended the University of Miami.

Denver Post: Jeremy Noble Leads DU Lax

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Jeremy Noble proudly represents hard work, which is why he wears  #45 on his University of Denver lacrosse jersey.

The sophomore midfielder, who amassed a school-record 10 points in last weekend's NCAA Tournament-opening 16-14 upset victory at North Carolina, represents Jamieson Kuhlman. 

Noble and Kuhlman were high school teammates at The Hill Academy in Vaughn, Ontario, where Kuhlman died in 2008 after being struck in the head with a lacrosse ball. Kuhlman wore #45 [read entire article].

DU Hoops Transfer Overcomes Horrific Beating

Griffin McKenzie
by Shannon Russell

Six-foot-nine sophomore forward Griffin McKenzie is transferring to the University of Denver from Xavier University after two seasons with the program.

The Moeller High School [Cincinnati] graduate played in 28 Xavier games throughout his career. 

This season he averaged 2.3 minutes in 11 contests and finished with two points and five rebounds.

Said McKenzie: “After the season was over, I sat down with my family and we decided I might be a better fit at a different school. I have no ill feelings toward Xavier and I really appreciated the opportunity Coach (Chris) Mack gave me to play here.”

McKinzie's story took a strange twist the summer before he went to college.  He attended a high school party where he was beaten so badly that he lost consciousness and needed surgery to repair a jaw broken in three places.

He doesn't dwell on the 2.5 days he spent in the hospital recovering from the jaw breaks, a broken nose, and four missing teeth.

McKenzie would prefer not to think about the eight weeks his jaw was wired shut or the fact that six months later, he still has nerve damage in a small area from his chin to his right cheek where he can feel nothing.
Court documents paint a grim picture of what transpired that June night. They allege that a juvenile invited friends to her parents' home - while the parents were out of town - following a concert the night of June 18.

It was there that Jonathan Spatz, 22, of Indian Hill, threatened two male juveniles and prevented them from leaving the property about 2 a.m., court documents allege.  At the time Spatz was a member of the University of Cincinnati Track & Field Team.

McKenzie said he intervened to "defend the two Moeller students who were being harassed."

Spatz and a juvenile then repeatedly punched McKenzie in the head, court documents allege.

But why?

McKenzie believed it to be a case of mistaken identity. Some high school and college-aged kids, he said, erroneously thought one of the Moeller students had been involved in a previous run-in at a different concert.

After they "got in the (Moeller) kid's face," McKenzie said he stepped in - and that, he said, escalated an already hostile environment.

"I was actually still barefoot. I didn't even know what was going on. I was in the pool," McKenzie said. "Five minutes later, I was just knocked out."

The 6-foot-9 McKenzie said it started as a nine-on-three battle. Eventually, he said he was "being attacked by five guys."

"I didn't have any time to really defend myself just because of the angles that they hit me from," McKenzie said. "And I never even really got to defend myself like in any sort of aggressive manner to where I was able to strike back. It just happened really quickly."

He said he fell back against a car when he was knocked unconscious. They "just kept drilling me in the face" after that because he somehow was propped up against the vehicle, he said.

Then, when he hit the ground, he said they kicked his face.

It was only later, long after his friends drove him to a nearby hospital, that McKenzie grasped the reality of what happened.

"For me and my friends, it was pretty unprecedented. No one's ever been just beaten up that bad," McKenzie said. "I was just shocked. I mean, everyone was just kind of shocked."

Months earlier McKenzie had been at the top of his high school game, averaging 11.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while helping the Crusaders to a 22-5 record and state runner-up finish.

Within days of the incident he was physically depleted. McKenzie said he quickly dropped 25 pounds and struggled to keep down his basic diet of rice protein.

Xavier coach Chris Mack wasn't sure McKenzie would be in any shape for his first college basketball season, so the coach opted for a wait-and-see approach in terms of red-shirting him.

Then McKenzie surprised everyone.

After eight weeks of "not doing anything," he said - not even lifting light weights - he went to Xavier with purpose. He ate everything he could once his jaw wires were removed and immersed himself in a new college diet and weight lifting.

His body responded so well that he packed on a total 41 pounds from his lowest point (184 pounds) until now (225).

"I really thought when it first happened that, 'Wow, he may not be able to play for this year.' I was shocked and surprised by how quickly he gained the weight back and more," Mack said. "He got to a point before the season started where he had never weighed that much. It's a testament to how hard of a worker he is."

McKenzie doesn't make excuses, but he wonders what impact he might have had with a good offseason.

"I never really got the chance to prove my game at all that summer. I was more just concerned with getting back up to where I was before I was injured," McKenzie said.

Jonathan Spatz, later pleaded guilty to felonious assault and was sentenced by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to two years in prison, a sentence agreed to by prosecutors and Spatz as part of a plea deal.

NT Times: DU Lacrosse Looks For Redemption

by Anna Gauldin

The University of Denver men’s lacrosse team is back in business and in search of redemption.

After receiving an at-large bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament, the Pioneers (9-6) upset eighth-seeded North Carolina (11-6) with a final score of 16-14 on Saturday night in Chapel Hill, N.C., advancing to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row [read entire article].

Ray Pigozzi Will Arrive At DU In 2013

Last week LetsGoDU mentioned that three websites including College Hockey Inc. had DU recruit Ray Pigozzi coming to DU in the 2012-13 recruiting class.  Turns out that information was incorrect.  

Pigozzi will be coming to DU as originally planned in 2013-14.  We regret the error.
2012 Recruiting Class
D Dakota Mermis (Green Bay, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Des Moines, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Omaha, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Grant Arnold (Green Bay, USHL)
F Gabe Levin (Fairbanks, NAHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Chicago, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)
F Cody DePourcq (Penticton, BCHL)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Dylan Gambrell (Colorado Thunderbirds, AAA)
F Garrett Gamez (LA Selects, AAA)

DU Recruit Wins Canadian National Championship

University of Denver ice hockey recruit Cody DePourcq and his Penticton Vees' teammates defeated the New Brunswick's Woodstock Slammers 4-3 Sunday in Humboldt, Sask., to win the RBC Cup national Junior A championship. 

Pencticton scored the game-winner with 51 seconds remaining in third period. 

The Vees lost the first two games at the five-team national tournament, falling 2-1 to Ontario's Soo Thunderbirds and 3-2 to the host Humboldt Broncos, but then beat Woodstock 2-1 and Manitoba's Portage Terriers 3-1 to advance to the playoffs. 

Eight players on Penticton's roster from Minnesota, including forward Mario Lucia, son of Minnesota Gophers coach Don Lucia. Penticton went 54-4-0-2 in the regular season and had seven of the league's top nine scorers.

NCAA Lacrosse Tickets Available Online

(above) Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Tickets for the 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Quarterfinals between the University of Denver and #1 ranked Loyola (Md.) University on Saturday, May 19 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium are on sale by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or via the internet at: http://bit.ly/waAy23
The Pioneers will face the Greyhounds in the second game of the day's doubleheader at 12:30 PM MT.  #2 Johns Hopkins and Maryland will face-off in the first game at 10 AM MT. 

Tickets for the doubleheader are $20 for adults and $15 for students. There are no reserved seats for the game, all tickets are general admission.  Re-entry is only allowed between games one and two.

NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals

Saturday, May 19 on ESPN2
10 AM MT: No. 2 Johns Hopkins vs. Lehigh/Maryland winner on ESPN2
12:30 PM MT: No. 1 Loyola vs. Denver on ESPN2
Sunday, May 20 on ESPNU
10 AM MT: No. 5 Virginia vs. 4 Notre Dame on ESPNU
12:30 PM MT: No. 3 Duke vs. Colgate on ESPNU

Junior Pioneers Recognized For Excellence

(above) The Junior Pioneers who train at the Ritchie Center on campus won the Tier II National Championships last month outscoring opponents 30-12
Note: Youth Excellence in Sports [YES AWARD] honors those 17 or younger who have excelled in any athletic endeavor unaffiliated with the Colorado High School Activities Association.

From: Denver Post
by Jon Yunt

In the NHL, players show team unity during the playoffs by growing a "playoff beard."

That option isn't always available to 12-13 year-olds, but the next best thing might be a hair-dyeing party. That was the show of team unity that brought an already tight group of University of Denver Junior Pioneers together before their trip to Herndon, Va., and the USA Hockey Tier IIAAA U12 national championships. 

"Our kids can't grow beards, so some of the kids got together and decided to dye their hair," coach John Kopperud said. "What was really cool about it was that they had a parade in Virginia, prior to the start of the tournament, and our boys came out arm in arm with that shockingly white hair." 

Excluding a 2-1 victory over the Boulder Bison in their third game, the Pioneers cruised through the tournament and won the national title with a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim (Calif.) Wildcats on April 1, earning selection as The Denver Post Youth Excellence in Sports award winner for April.

Kopperud had taken his team to tournaments in Detroit and Canada before nationals. The Pioneers lost in the semifinals in those two tournaments. 

"There were some nerves," said Luke Ciolli, who had five goals and two assists in the tournament, including two goals in the title game. "We were the favorites." 

The Pioneers finished 73-4 and led 6-0 in the title game. 

 "From Day One, they wanted to win that national tournament," said Kopperud, whose son, Matthew, also scored twice in the championship game. "That's a pretty lofty goal." 

Rich Smith, director of Tier I and Tier II hockey in Colorado, said the Pioneers were special from the start. 

"These kids went out and they took it to this country, playing some really tough teams, including some Tier I teams," Smith said. 

Clearly, it was a talented group of players from up and down the Front Range, from Colorado Springs to Greeley. 

Coach: John Kopperud Players: F Jake Adkins F Luke Ciolli F Brian King F Matthew Kopperud F Jacob Marti F Luke McFarlane F Brice Novosel F JP Perez F Noah Watkiss D Colby Bukes D Murphy Gielow D Blaze Hubbard D Dustyn Loescher D Nikolai Lyssogor G Hunter Bancroft G Colin Lebere

Photo: All Hail Jeremy Noble

(above) Jeremy Noble [#45] set a DU record on Saturday night with 10 points [3g, 7a] against North Carolina

Twitter: Trevor Tierney Shout Out

NCAA Tourney: DU 16 - North Carolina 14

“When Matt Brown read off the list of offenses we were going to play tonight, I got tired listening. I think there were 17. By mixing it up, we felt like we could keep their defenders on their heels a little bit.” 
- DU Head Coach Bill Tierney
The University of Denver came from behind to secure a thrilling 16-14 victory over #8 ranked University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday night.

Jeremy Noble was the player of the game with three goals and 10 points. Mark Matthews had five goals & Wes Berg each picked up a hat trick.

Chase Carraro won 23 of 31 face-offs in advancing to face top-seeded Loyola next weekend in the quarterfinals

Photo: DU Lacrosse Team's Charter Jet

(above) DU lacrosse players board the charter jet to North Carolina

Lacrosse Watch Parties Today

(above) This was the scene last year at Crimson & Gold

Fans of the University of Denver men's lacrosse team who are interested in watching the NCAA Tournament First Round game between the Pioneers and Tar Heels of North Carolina can watch the game at three locations surrounding the DU campus.
Boone's Tavern
1135 East Evans Ave.
Denver, CO. 80210

The Pioneer
2401 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO. 80210

Crimson and Gold
2017 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO. 80210

The game is slated to begin Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.

NCAA's: DU Women Golfers Finish 19th

Weather for Erie, CO 45°F 
Chance of Rain  
Wind: N at 7 mph 

Thursday May 10, 2012 - Saturday May 12, 2012
Colorado National Golf Club
Erie, Colorado

Live Scoreboard & Stats

NY Times: DU Lacrosse Seeks Redemption

(above) DU student Anna Gauldin wrote this article for the NY Times Blog
From: NY Times
by Anna Gauldin

After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Loyola in the semifinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament, the University of Denver men’s lacrosse team received an at-large bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament.

The No. 13 Pioneers (8-6, 3-3) will travel to North Carolina to take on the No. 8 seeded Tar Heels (11-5) in the first round of the tournament on Saturday in Chapel Hill. This is the third consecutive year the Pioneers have earned a spot in the the tournament, posting their first N.C.A.A. victory and Final Four appearance during the 2011 season before losing to eventual N.C.A.A. champion Virginia [read entire article].

Three Fort Collins Lax Players Will Play Today

(above) Greg Rushing from Fort Collins will play for UMass today in the NCAA playoffs
From: Coloradoan
by Carl McCutchens

Former Fort Collins lacrosse players Greg Rushing, Ryan LaPlante and Henry Miketa are no strangers to a playoff atmosphere.

Rushing, now a senior at the University of Massachusetts, and Miketa, a senior at the University of Denver, were both integral parts of the Fort Collins Unified team's 2007 state championship team.

A season later, LaPlante, now a freshman at DU, joined the squad as the Vipers made a run at defending their championship before falling short in the title game to Kent Denver [read entire article].

Video: Indy Film About DU-Duke Lacrosse Game

(above) A short 1:20 film by Elevation Video
Film: Make Or Break
Produced: Chris Lewis
Shot & Directed: Jon Stevenson
Additional Camera: Andrew Tomasini
Watch In HD: http://vimeo.com/41805894

DU Women To Tee Off At NCAA Regionals

The University of Denver women's golf team will begin play today at the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Golf West Regional at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colorado. 

"We are all really looking forward to this week. The regional is always so much fun," head coach Sammie Chergo said. "Our preparation has been great and we are looking forward to getting out and competing"

ESPN: Sources Reveal DU's WAC Plan

(above) DU is trying to save the WAC
From: ESPN.com
by Andy Katz

The University of Denver’s plan, according to a source, is to try to convince the remaining WAC members (Idaho, New Mexico State, Boise State and Seattle) that they should stay together to keep the league’s automatic NCAA tournament berth. 

The WAC could then add available Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield. 

The problem is that NMSU and Idaho will need a home for football and Boise State now would rather be in the Big West or, if the Big East were to fail, head back to the Mountain West. And, according to a source, if Denver had its choice, the Pioneers would go to the stable and all-private WCC.

DU Clarion: Boone Identity Unmasked

(above) The Clarion interviewed Zeke Perez about Boone
From: DU Clarion
by Hannah Gilham

Most juniors have attended their fair share of DU sporting events over the years: cheering, drinking and showing their school pride. Junior Zeke Perez, public policy and political science major, has spent the last two years dressing up as DU mascot “Denver Boone” to represent the ultimate school pride during both games and other campus events.

“Denver Boone” was designed by Walt Disney and served as the DU official mascot from 1968-1998. Independent members of the DU community and alumni brought back Boone in 2009 for sporting and university events, after he was retired by DU administration in 1998.

Perez grew up in Denver and says he has always been a huge sports fan, particularly of Colorado teams [read entire article].

Clarion: Tierney Brings Culture Change To DU

(above) Besides success on the lacrosse field, DU's team GPA has gone from 2.6 to 3.2 under Tierney
Since I’ve been in Denver, there hasn’t been a day gone by where I’m not excited to get up and come to work in the morning. That’s a pretty cool thing. It can sometimes be stressful, but it is also so rewarding."
- DU Lacrosse Coach Bill Tierney

From: DU Clarion
by Anna Gauldin

Men’s lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney has brought a winning tradition to the University of Denver, posting a 35-14 overall record in three seasons and leading the Pioneers to the program’s first NCAA tournament victory and Final Four appearance in 2011.

Tierney joined the Pioneer staff in July of 2009 after more than 20 years as head coach at Princeton. Since then, he has expanded the lacrosse program dramatically across all levels and garnered national attention for a Denver team that competes in a sport restricted primarily to the East Coast. Tierney has coached the Pioneers to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances; the program had only reached the tournament twice prior to his tenure [read entire article].

DU Recruit Selected In 1st Round Of USHL Draft

2014 University of Denver ice hockey recruit Dylan Gambrell [5’10, 154 lbs.] was selected with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the USHL Futures Draft by the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Gambrell is from Seattle but spent this past season playing AAA hockey in Denver for the Colorado Thunderbirds.

Dubuque Director of Scouting Bobby Kinsella has this to say about Gambrell: “Dylan’s a very offensive-minded player, but he’s sound in all aspects of the game as well. He has a knack for scoring goals, but he’s a two-way-player, he competes hard, and he’s dynamic in one-on-one situations. He’s committed to Denver, and he figures to be a great offensive threat in this league. "

The USHL Futures Draft selects players who usually will not play in the USHL during the 2012-13 season. The 2012 Futures Draft restricts teams to selecting players who have a 1996 birth year. These players are "protected" on an Affiliate List through the 2012-13 season while they continue to develop at a lower level of hockey during the season.
2012 Recruiting Class
D Dakota Mermis (Green Bay, USHL)
F Garrett Allen (Des Moines, USHL)
D Nolan Zajac (Omaha, USHL)
F Quentin Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Grant Arnold (Green Bay, USHL)
F Gabe Levin (Fairbanks, NAHL)

2013 Recruiting Class
F Matt Van Voorhis (Sioux Falls, USHL)
F Tyler Pham (Indiana Ice, USHL)
F Brad Hawkinson (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
F Landon Smith (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Connor Chatham (U.S. Under-17)
F Ray Pigozzi (Chicago, USHL)
D Will Butcher (U.S. Under-17)
F Cody DePourcq (Penticton, BCHL)
F Trevor Moore (Tri-Cities, USHL)

2014 Recruiting Class
F Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage, U-16)
D Gage Ausmus (U.S. Under-17)
F Dylan Gambrell (Colorado Thunderbirds, AAA)
F Garrett Gamez (LA Selects, AAA)

DU Sneaks Into NCAA Tournament

Click on photo to enlarge

Lacrosse Selection Show on ESPN-U

The University of Denver Lacrosse team will find out their fate tonight for the NCAA Tournament on ESPN-U during the Lacrosse Selection Show.

ESPNU will unveil the 16-team bracket during the hour-long 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship Selection Show Presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car Sunday, May 6, at 7 PM MT. In addition to the bracket announcement, host Anish Shroff and analysts Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra will provide breakdown of the field and tournament predictions, along with interviews with select head coaches.

LaxPower predicts that DU won't make the 16 team Tournament Field while Inside Lacrosse predicts that the Pioneers will be selected. It appears that DU and Cornell are the two teams fighting for the final spot in the Tournament.  That's problematic, because Cornell beat DU 9-8 in overtime, but DU's victory over #5 Duke may be the trump card.  Stay tuned.