February 18, 2011

Syracuse-Denver Game Features Two of Top Active Lacrosse Coaches

from press release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The second-ranked Orange (0-0), winners of the 2010 BIG EAST regular-season championship and two of the last three national championships, open the regular season for the second straight year against No. 13 Denver (0-0) at the Carrier Dome. Faceoff is slated for 1 p.m. Syracuse posted a 13-2 overall record in 2010 and made its 30th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Pioneers were 12-5 a year ago and also reached the NCAA playoffs in their first year under head coach Bill Tierney.

Tickets are available online at SUathletics.com, over the phone (1-888-DOMETIX), or in person at the Carrier Dome Box Office during normal business hours. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and under. 'Cuse Kids Club members get in free with their membership card. Parking is $10.

The game will be televised live in the Syracuse area on Time Warner Sports. Fans can also hear the action live on the radio home of the Orange - TK 99 (99.5 FM). Live streaming video and audio are available on SUathletics.com as part of Orange All-Access.

The matchup between Syracuse and Denver features the two winningest active coaches in Division I lacrosse by percentage. Orange mentor John Desko is first on that list with a .770 winning percentage (147-44). Tierney is right behind him at .743 (284-98).

In addition to regular-season success, both men have excelled in the postseason. Desko owns the highest NCAA Tournament winning percentage (min. 10 games) at .818 (27-6). Tierney is fifth (.698, 30-13). Tierney ranks third in career NCAA postseason wins (30) and Desko is fourth with 27. The pair has combined to win 11 national championships with Tierney tying SU coaching legend Roy Simmons Jr. atop the list with six. Desko is third with five NCAA titles to his credit. All of Tierney's championship came while he was the head coach at Princeton.

In 17 head-to-head meetings, Desko owns a 12-5 advantage against Tierney, including a 15-9 triumph last year in Tierney's Denver head coaching debut.

SU owns an all-time record of 73-18 (.802) in season-opening games. It is 32-9 in campaign starters since 1970 and has won 14 straight, including all 12 under Desko. The Orange defeated Denver (15-9) in last year's campaign starter.

The Class of 2011 has the opportunity to go out as the winningest four-year class in Orange history. The 2011 seniors have won 45 games in their first three seasons and need 12 victories in 2011 to tie the Orange's Class of 1986 for the most wins (57) over a four-year period (1983-86). The current crop of seniors helped SU tie the school season record for victories (16) in 2008 and 2009 on its way to consecutive NCAA Championships. Syracuse won 13 games in 2010.

Senior Stephen Keogh (Toronto, Ontario) enters his third season as a starter on attack. He led the Orange in goals for the second consecutive season with 31 in 2010 and finished the year tied for first in the BIG EAST in goals per scored per game (2.07). He's is the team's active leader with 100 career goals, hitting triple digits with his fourth-quarter tally in SU's NCAA Tournament loss to Army. Keogh is also the Orange's active leader with 113 points. He's scored at least three goals in a game 15 times.

Lost amongst Syracuse's bevy of scorers was last year's performance by senior Josh Amidon (Lafayette, N.Y.). He quietly finished as SU's highest scoring midfielder, ranking fourth on the Orange with 27 points (14g, 13a). Amidon's 13 assists tied for second on the team. A preseason honorable mention All-American, Amidon totaled eight multi-point games last season, including a personal-best five points (4g, 1a) against Georgetown.

Syracuse returns three senior first-team All-Americans from a unit the led the nation in scoring defense (7.4 goals allowed per game) last season. Close defenseman John Lade (Randolph, N.J.), goalie John Galloway (Syracuse, N.Y.) and long-stick midfielder Joel White (Cortland, N.Y.) are back and were the key cogs in the country's stingiest defense. The 2010 campaign marked the first time since the NCAA began tracking the national leaders in 1996 that the Orange finished first nationally in scoring defense.

The Pioneers are the preseason favorite to repeat ECAC champions after going undefeated in conference play (7-0) and reaching the NCAA Championship in 2010. Second-year coach Bill Tierney returns seven of his top eight scorers from last season. Junior attackman Alex Demopoulos, a preseason honorable mention All-American, leads the way. Demopoulos paced Denver in scoring with 60 points and was also first on the team with 24 assists last season. Leading goal scorer Mark Matthews (38 goals) is also back on attack. The midfield features a pair of 20-goal scorers in junior Patrick Rogers (20 goals) and Cameron Flint (23 goals). Junior goalie Zander Buteux (70 svs., 9.66 GAA) started six games last season. Manhattan transfer Troy Orzech is also in the hunt to replace the departed Peter Lowell in the cage.

This is just the third meeting between the Orange and Pioneers. The Orange prevailed in the first matchup, 13-10, at the 2002 Pioneer Face-Off Classic in Denver, and beat the Pioneers, 15-9, in the 2010 campaign starter at the Dome.

Syracuse hosts Army at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Carrier Dome. The contest is a rematch of last year's first-round NCAA Tournament game won by the Black Knights, 9-8, in double overtime.

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