Zach Miller should be celebrating right now.
Miller, an attack man for the University of Denver Pioneers lacrosse team, helped pull off a major victory over Ohio State after Denver trailed 7-1 for most of the first half of the game. Miller, who grew up on the Allegany Indian Reservation in western New York, scored one goal, his 23rd of the season, and had three assists. The Pioneers advanced to the semifinals, winning 15-13.
"Amazing, amazing game," DU head coach Bill Tierney said in a post-game press conference. "I'm just so proud of everybody affiliated with this team."
Over 13,000 people watched the amazing comeback at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Saturday. The win will send DU to its fourth Final Four in five years.
Miller’s goal came late in the second quarter moving the scoreboard up just a notch to 7-3, after teammate Connor Cannizzaro made it 7-2, scoring his 51st goal of the season. And Tewaaraton Award finalist, Wes Berg scored six goals and had one assist, marking Berg’s 45th goal of the season.
In an interview ahead of Saturday’s game, Miller told CBS Denver, “I don’t think I’d be in college right now if not for lacrosse. Lacrosse has opened countless doors for me.”
Miller is the first and only Native American to play for Tierney. The team will next play Notre Dame in Philadelphia on May 23 for the semifinals.
Speaking of Notre Dame, the Irish (No.1) bested U of Albany over the weekend in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. The Irish won 10-14, and are headed back to the NCAA National semifinals against Denver (No. 4).
"We felt like we had it going into the fourth when we were up 9-8," Lyle Thompson, an attack man for Albany, told Syracuse.com. "They came on strong. We fell behind and felt like we had to play catch-up. I did it especially. I was in a situation where I wasn't playing smart. I was forcing things. At the time I kind of had to, but I definitely could have played smarter. Their defenseman who covered me did a really good job, and especially their team defense behind him, not allowing me to shoot the ball once I got my hands free."
Although they were eliminated, Thompson ended his college career on a historic note. Thompson, a 2014 co-Tewaaraton award winner and 2015 Tewaaraton Award finalist, scored one goal, but managed 4 assists, scooting him past Syracuse and North Carolina State standout Tim Nelson’s all-time career assists record set in 1985, with a record 224 assists.
Thompson is also the NCAA's career leader in points with 400.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of Lyle and what he's done for the game of lacrosse," Albany coach Scott Marr told Syracuse.com. "I don't think we'll see another player like him for a long time."