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Denver's lacrosse championship means more for the sport than just another trophy

 

 

 

Lacrosse is traditionally known as an East Coast sport, one played in prep schools in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and in colleges mostly up and down the East Coast. But in recent years, it’s become a sport that’s quickly spreading, starting with Northwestern women’s team taking the first championship away from the traditional powerhouses a decade ago. And now, for the first time in NCAA history, a school west of the Appalachians took home the men’s title with Denver’s decisive victory over the Terps (whose women took home the title last weekend.)

When Northwestern brought the championship to a new area of the country, years before the Big Ten even had a lacrosse championship of its own, the story began in a similar way as Denver’s, with few top recruits and a coach that left a comfortable spot in a traditional lacrosse power. Northwestern’s first stars were two players that, according to legend, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller saw jogging on the street and asked if they wanted to try out a new sport. That team’s success was one of many reasons that lacrosse spread so quickly and in a short amount of time it went from being a sport where players had to explain basic rules to one popular far outside of the traditional schools in the women’s game. 

Now, it appears, the men’s game is solidly on the same track — something Tierney has brought up consistently in interviews throughout his time in Denver.

 

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports