May 4, 2014
By Richard Finn
Special to BIGEAST.com
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Denver men's lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney has a very easy way of gauging how his Pioneers are playing.
He looks at attack Wesley Berg.
"If Wesley is not playing great, we are not going to be playing great," Tierney said of his junior out of British Columbia as he stood in the middle of the Villanova Stadium field on Saturday.
Moments earlier, Berg had been named the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after leading the Pioneers to the crown with a 14-7 win over the host Wildcats.
"Wesley is our man. He is the guy who the team rallies around offensively," said Tierney. "He shoots the ball and gets those big goals."
Berg got plenty of big goals this week.
In a 14-7 semifinal win over Rutgers to open the tournament Thursday, Berg ignited the high-octane Pioneer offense by tying a BIG EAST Tournament single-game record for points with five goals and two assists. The five goals also matched a tournament single-game mark.
In the championship tilt, he added three more for his sixth hat trick of the season as Denver unleashed a second-half offensive avalanche to bury the third-seeded Wildcats.
"I am feeling good," said Berg, who tallied his hat trick on five shots on goal.
Berg has been a scoring machine throughout his career. He is ranked in the top 10 in school history in career goals and assists. This season he leads the Pioneers with 41 goals and 58 points.
"You want to be a threat out there every time you have the ball," said Berg.
What would be Tierney's scouting report of his 6-foot, 1-inch, 180-pounder attacker?
"I would say that he was small, slow and left-handed," said Tierney with a chuckle and smile.
Seriously, Tierney says that Berg might not look like the prototype scorer with SportsCenter type highlights but he gets the job done.
"He is just a bulldog, he is not real fancy," said Tierney. "You watch some of these great players on all of these teams, the quick and fancy guys, that is not what Wesley does. He is a grinder. He goes and plays hard and when he gets his chances he sticks them."
The description is fine with Berg.
"I take that as a compliment," said Berg. "Maybe I play a gritty game and not as shifty as others. That means you are doing the right things out there."