After 88 mintutes of scoreless action in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division Field Hockey Tournament, Denison (17-4) saw its season come to an end in dramatic fashion on Wednesday (11/9) afternoon in Lexington, Virgina, as Washington & Lee (15-6) got a goal from Haley Tucker in the 89th minute to give the Generals a 1-0 home win over the Big Red.
The loss marked the Big Red's first setback since September 13 when they also dropped a 1-0 double overtime decision at Wooster in NCAC play.
Denison did have its chances in the contest as the Big Red held a 17-8 advantage in shots and a 7-5 edge in penalty corner opportunities against W&L. Leading the charge for the Big Red offensive unit was freshman Charlotte Godfrey (Denver, CO/Cherry Creek) with eight total shots, while freshman goalie Kerry Lawler (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) made two saves in the DU cage. Despite only totaling eight shots in the match as a team, Tucker was active throughout the day for W&L as she registered seven of the eight shots, which included a pair of shots on goal that were swatted away by Lawler.
Denison's 17 wins on the season tied the 2013 squad for the second-most wins in program history, trailing only the 1984 squad that posted an overall record of 18-2-1.
Denison (17-3) claimed its second North Coast Athletic Conference tournament title on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 triumph over Wittenberg (14-6) in Granville, Ohio.
The Big Red got off to a quick start when Abby Scully (Charlotte, NC/Providence Day School) scored her third goal of the season off an assist from Charlotte Godfrey (Denver, CO/Cherry Creek) just 4:40 into the contest. Wittenberg tied the game with just under 10 minutes to play in the half when senior Riley Trexler (Louisville, KY/Atherton) scored her seventh goal of the season and second of the NCAC Tournament on a assist from freshman Channa Visseren (Utrecht, Netherlands/St. Bonifatius College).
Two minutes before halftime, Denison took back the lead when senior Jen Durbin (Ann Arbor, MI/Huron) scored in front of the cage after corralling the rebound from Happel. Denison continued to apply pressure early in the second half looking to extend the lead but junior Allie Purvis (Leesburg, VA/Loudon County) denied the Big Red on several chances with great saves. Over the final 20 minutes, the Big Red held the Tigers without a shot to secure the victory.
Denison outshot Wittenberg, 23-5, in the contest and held an 11-3 edge on penalty corners. Purvis finished with 11 saves for the Tigers, while freshman Kerry Lawler (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) tallied two saves in the cage for the Big Red. With the win, Denison extends its unbeaten streak to a program best, 15 games.
Denison will open NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship play with a first-round game at Washington & Lee on Wednesday, November 8. Washington & Lee (14-4), making its second appearance all-time, earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 overtime win over Lynchburg in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship. This is a rematch from a Sept. 10 contest between Denison and W&L that took place in Granville. The Big Red prevailed 2-0 and blanked the Generals in shots, 14-0. The winner of Wednesday’s opening-round game will move on to face Messiah (19-0), which will host second and third-round games November 11-12.
Denison, making its 12th NCAA appearance, is 4-13 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. They have two national semifinal appearances to their credit in 1982 and 1983. Denison’s last NCAA Tournament appearance occurred in 2011 when they suffered a 4-1 loss to MIT in Brunswick, Maine.
The Big Red, led by 15-year head coach P.J. Soteriades, have gotten strong performances this season from Godfrey and Happel as the duo has combined for 25 of Denison’s 55 goals and dished out seven assists for 57 total points. On the defensive side of the ball, Lawler has corralled 16 saves and allowed just nine goals in 942:39 minutes of action with a 0.67 goals against average.
Complete NCAA Tournament information can be found online at: www.ncaa.com.