Denver, Co. – The 10th ranked Brown men’s lacrosse team came into Denver hoping to punch a ticket back to the NCAA Quarterfinals next week in Denver, but the third-ranked Denver Pioneers had other thoughts. Denver built a 10-2 lead at the half and held off a voracious Brown second half challenge to come away with a 15-9 win over the Bears in first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Denver (14-2) advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals next Saturday, May 16 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Brown finishes its season with a 12-5 mark, just one win short of the school record for victories.
“We ran into a great lacrosse team today,” said Brown head coach Lars Tiffany. “A Bill Tierney team is always well coached and very talented.”
“To take the next step, we have to learn from games like this,” continued Tiffany. “We’ll definitely learn from this and we’ll be back.”
Coach Lars Tiffany’s Ivy League champion Bears ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with over 14 goals per game, but it was the play of Denver goalie Ryan La Plante, who set the defensive tone with 13 first half saves, including nine in the opening half. He finished with 16 saves.
The shining light for the Bears offense was the scoring of sophomore Dylan Molloy (Setauket, NY), the Ivy League and New England Player of the Year, who scored three goals to set a single season Brown scoring record, breaking the mark of 59 goals by Andy Towers in 1990. Molloy, the nation’s leading scorer, now has 62 goals this season.
Senior Tim Jacob (Palo Alto, CA) and junior Kylor Bellistri (Potomac, MD) netted two goals each for the Bears, while juniors Henry Blynn (Villanova, PA) and Brendan Caputo (Westbury, NY) scored one each. Brown junior goalie Jack Kelly (West Islip, NY) had nine saves in net.
The Pioneers were paced by Connor Cannizzaro, who scored a game-high five goals. Tyler Pace, Zach Miller and Sean Cannizaro scored two goals each for Denver.
Denver had the better of play in the opening quarter, with Brown falling behind by a 5-1 margin despite out-shooting the Pioneers, 19-10, with Denver goalie Ryan LaPlante making nine saves. Molloy’s goal at the 4:42 mark of the quarter, his 60th of the season, set a new Brown record for goals in a season.
The Bears were able to muster one score in the second quarter, a goal by Molloy that made the score 6-2 with 9:02 left. But a relentless and methodical Denver attack carried the half to lift the Pioneers to a 10-2 lead at intermission behind Connor Cannizzaro’s three goals.
Undaunted, Brown got back in the game with four straight goals to open the fourth quarter and trail, 10-6, with 7:05 left in the quarter. Jacob scored twice, junior Kylor Bellistri (Potomac, MD) and Molloy once in the 4-0 spurt.
But three straight goals by the Pioneers to close the quarter, including Cannizzaro’s fourth goal with eight seconds left game Denver a 13-6 lead.