Utah will face Duke in NCAA lacrosse tournament

Utah lacrosse poses with the trophy after winning the 2024 ASUN Conference championship.
Utah lacrosse poses with the trophy after winning the 2024 ASUN Conference championship. | Utah Athletics

Utah is headed back to the NCAA lacrosse tournament.

For the second year in a row, Utah has won the ASUN Conference championship and earned an auto-bid.

The Utes will travel to Durham, North Carolina to face second-seeded Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament on May 11 at 12:30 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

Since head coach Andrew McMinn took the baton from Brian Holman, who guided Utah through the transition from a club sport to a Division I program, in 2021, the Utes have hit new heights.

In 2023, Utah clinched its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance by defeating Air Force in the ASUN championship, and they followed that up by defeating Jacksonville 16-13 Sunday to claim back-to-back ASUN crowns, led by five goals from attacker Ryan Stines and three goals apiece from midfielder Jared Andreala and attacker Tyler Bradbury.

Utah held a 9-6 lead at the end of the second period, then scored four straight goals to begin the third period, including two consecutive from Bradbury, to take a 13-6 lead.

After Jacksonville responded with two goals of its own, Utah extended the lead with scores from Carson Moyer and Andreala, leading 15-8 with 12:35 left in the game.

Jacksonville came on strong late in the game, scoring five straight to cut Utah’s lead to two with 3:12 remaining, but Andreala iced the win with a goal.

After winning nine in a row, including two games at the ASUN tournament, Utah has momentum heading into the NCAA tournament.

Offensively, the Utes are scoring 15.31 goals per game, third-best in the country, led by Stines, who won the ASUN Player of the Year award. Stines paces the Utes with 64 points — 47 goals and 17 assists, while Bradbury is close behind with 57 points — 30 goals and 27 assists — and Jordan Hyde has 39 goals and eight assists.

Defensively, Utah allows 10.375 goals per game, and defensemen Nikko DiPonio and Joey Boylston are both in the top 12 in turnovers caused per game, while goalkeeper Colin Lenskold allows 10.54 goals per game.

Utah will face a tough test in Duke, which enters the game with a 12-5 record and is coming off of a ACC runner-up finish. The Blue Devils are led by Brennan O’Neill, Dyson Williams and Josh Zawada, who have combined for 128 goals, while Kenny Brower has caused 18 turnovers on defense and goalkeeper Patrick Jameison is allowing 10.16 goals per game.