May 21, 2011
Coach: Bill Tierney, pictured, is regarded as the greatest coach of the modern era, winning six NCAA titles at Princeton. He's won 322 games and is in his fourth year with the Pioneers. His roster is the melting pot of lacrosse, featuring players from 19 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Denver (14-4) has played in eight one-goal games, the latest a 12-11 thriller over North Carolina where the Pioneers overcame a 6-0 deficit. The Pioneers have been held under 10 goals only once all season.
Strengths: The offense is littered with skilled Canadians who shoot 34 percent. They set tons of picks and can smoke corners.
"We spend a lot of time with our guys with decision-making," Tierney said. "We talk about playing the game fast, but playing it smart as well."
Denver grinds in half-field sets, averaging about a minute per possession.
Weaknesses: Scoring defense is tied for No. 21 in the country. The Pioneers did hold North Carolina to two second-half goals in their come-from-behind win.
The Pioneers also suffer from a lack of scoring depth. They rely heavily on their top four scorers -- Salisbury transfer Eric Law, Wes Berg, Cameron Flint and Eric Adamson. Berg is on fire with 12 goals in the NCAA tournament. A subpar day from one or more would be devastating.