Southern Californians grabbed the headlines on Saturday as college lacrosse finally returned after a 327 day absence. Just a few hours after Eric Rubak (Santa Margarita ’16) led Bellarmine to victory over Mercer, Utah’s Tyler Bradbury (Oak Park ’19) and Denver’s JJ Sillstrop (La Costa Canyon ’19) put on a show in the only other game of the day.
Bradbury led all scorers with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) as the Utes made a spirited attempt to upset the No. 5 Pios. However, it was Sillstrop’s only goal, a fourth quarter BTB beauty, that proved to be the difference maker as Denver outlasted Utah 9-8. Branden Wilson, also played a role for Utah, with an appearance as starting midfielder.
The upset minded Utes took a 3-1 lead into half time but lost some momentum when Denver scored two quick goals to even the game 3-3 early in the second half. Bradbury had the answer though, taking advantage of an EMO with some nifty work on the crease to put the Utes back up by one.
Denver’s offense was starting to gel at this point and the Pios quickly knotted the game at four apiece. Once again Bradbury answered for Utah.
Denver continued to flex their muscles but could not shake Utah. After Sillstrop’s goal gave Denver a 9-6 lead at the 12:53 mark of the fourth quarter, the Utes defense shut out the Pios while the offense continued to chip away. Bradury assisted on a goal by Drew Wasserman before completing his hat trick and narrowing the score to 9-8 with just under two minutes to play.
Denver won the ensuing faceoff and never gave up possession to stave off the upsete.