2011 NCAC Field Hockey Tournament

DENISON UNIVERSITY

2011 NCAC FIELD HOCKEY TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS

Semifinals: Wednesday, Nov. 2nd Championship: Saturday, Nov. 5
#1 Denison 2, #4 Wittenberg 0 {Box Score}

Denison 2, DePauw 0 {Box Score}

#2 DePauw 4, #3 Wooster 1 {Box Score}  
Tournament Stats

Championship Recap:
Denison (18-1) claimed its first-ever North Coast Athletic Conference tournament title on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 triumph over DePauw in Granville. Big Red freshman Tara Pessman (Veldhoven, Netherlands/Sondervick College) got DU on the board early with a goal in the 13th minute, while junior Catie Merrick (Owings Mills, MD/Garrison Forest) sealed the victory after finding the back of the net in the 64th minute. The Denison defensive unit was once again led by junior goalie Brittany Benson (Wilmette, IL/New Trier) who corralled seven saves and posted her fifth-consecutive shutout in the championship game. Pessman was crowned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after netting the game-winner for the Big Red.

ALL-Tournament Team

Brittany Benson, Denison
Chelsea Cutler, DePauw
Karla Dixon, Denison
Margaret Ellis, DePauw
Paige Henry, DePauw
Katie McMahon, Denison
Jenny Schaafsma, Wittenberg
Nikki Sever, Wooster
Mallory Skrobot, Wittenberg
Shelby Stone, Wooster
Tara Pessman, Denison -- MVP

The victory assured the Big Red of its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament since the 2000 season, while the DePauw Tigers will hope to land an at-large big into the field of 24. First round contests are slated for Wednesday, Nov. 9. Complete matchups and site information will be released by the NCAA at approximately 10:30 p.m. this evening (11/6) at www.ncaa.com. The Big Red, who are 4-12 all-time in NCAA postseason play, earned their last NCAA victory in the opening round in 2000 with a 2-1 overtime triumph over Eastern.

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Semifinal Recaps:
Top-seeded Denison (13-1, 17-1) tallied a pair of second-half goals in the 53rd and 60th minutes of action to secure a 2-0 triumph over fourth-seeded Wittenberg (7-6, 9-9) in Wednesday's NCAC Tournament semifinal match in Granville, Ohio. With the victory, the Big Red will now host second-seeded DePauw in the championship match on Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. Big Red senior Kelsey Flowers (Darien, CT/Darien) put the first tally of the game on the scoreboard for DU on a penalty stroke conversion at the 52:58 mark of the second half, while junior Katie Merrick (Owings Mills, MD/Garrison Forest) took a pass sophomore Karia Dixon (Toledo, OH/Ottawa Hills) and beat the Wittenberg defense for the final goal of the afternoon in the 60th minute. Wittenberg senior goalie Jenny Schaafsma (Grand Rapids, MI/East Grand Rapids) closed out her collegiate career with an impressive 12 save performance in the match, while Denison junior goalie Brittany Benson (Wilmette, IL/New Trier) was only forced to make one save in the nets for the Big Red.

Second-seeded DePauw (12-1, 16-2) set up a re-match with top-seeded Denison in Saturday's NCAC Tournament championship match after defeating third-seeded Wooster (8-6, 9-10) by a 4-1 mark on Wednesday in Greencastle, Indiana. The Tigers struck first in the 16th minute on a goal off the stick of freshman Paige Henry (Louisville, KY/Kentucky Country Day), and took a 2-0 advantage into halftime after senior Courtney Wood (Lake Forest, IL/Lake Forest Academy) found the back of the net for DPU in the 21st minute. The Tigers extended their lead to 4-0 on a pair of second half goals from Henry and  junior Margaret Ellis (St. Louis, MO/Whitfield), while the Scots got on the board in the 66th minute with a tally from senior Maddie Hart (Frederick, MD/Thomas Johnson). DePauw will make the trip to Granville on Saturday for a shot at its first-ever NCAC Tournament championship against the Big Red at 12:00 p.m.

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Denison (13-1, 16-1) and DePauw (12-1, 15-2) finished the 2011 season as co-champions in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Wittenberg leads the league with 10 titles all-time, while Denison, Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster have each won eight, Oberlin has two and Kenyon has one.

Denison will enter the 2011 NCAC Tournament as the top seed after edging out DePauw, 1-0, on Saturday in Granville. The Big Red will host fourth-seeded Wittenberg (7-6, 9-8) on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. The Big Red defeated Wittenberg in both regular season meetings, earning a 1-0 triumph at home and a 1-0 overtime victory in Springfield. DePauw earned the second seed and will host third-seeded Wooster (8-6, 9-9) on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. DePauw won both regular season matchups against Wooster, securing identical 4-0 victories over the Fighting Scots.

Tourney Notes: The tournament winner receives the NCAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament ... Wooster is the three-time defending tournament champion and is now tied with Wittenberg for the most NCAC tournament titles all-time with three each ... Wittenberg and Wooster will both be competing in the tournament for the 10th-consecutive season as they are the ony two NCAC squads to have competed in every tournament since the inaugural event in 2002 ... Denison is appearing in the tournament for the third-consecutive season and seventh all-time, while DePauw makes its tournament debut in its first season in the conference.