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Ohio Wesleyan Marches Into NCAA Quarterfinals

Ohio Wesleyan Marches Into NCAA Quarterfinals

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In a battle of NCAC opponents, Ohio Wesleyan defeated Denison, 11-10, in Saturday’s NCAA Third Round contest at Piper Stadium in Granville, OH. The Bishops will now face Gettysburg in a quarterfinal matchup at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Gettysburg, PA.

Ohio Wesleyan junior midfielder Cole Jamieson (Okemos, MI/Okemos) set up the tying goal and scored the game-winning goal in the fourth quarter, and the Bishop defense protected the lead through a pair of possessions during the final six minutes as Ohio Wesleyan defeated Denison in the 102nd overall meeting between the two schools and the 10th time in NCAA play. 

The Bishops trailed, 9-8, heading into the fourth quarter but evened the score at nine on an unassisted goal by sophomore midfielder Lucas Smith (Purcellville, VA/Woodgrove) just over a minute into the period. Denison answered with an Owen Armstrong (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Latin) goal with 11:45 left in regulation time.

Less than a minute later, Jamieson found senior midfielder Luke Leyden (Northfield, MA/Northfield Mt. Hermon) for a goal that tied the game at 10. Jamieson then scored unassisted with 7:25 to play to give the Bishops the lead for good.

Ohio Wesleyan won the ensuing face-off, but Denison’s Ben Duhoski (St. Thomas, USVI/The Millbrook School) knocked the ball loose from junior attacker Jack Jeschke (Syracuse, NY/Christian Brothers Academy), and the Big Red looked for the tying score. Senior Ben Rigger (Decatur, GA/Decatur) stopped a shot by Denison’s Peter Pittroff (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Country Day), and a pair of shots by Spencer Butler (Essex Falls, NJ/Millbrook School) went wide before the Bishops called time out with 3:43 to play.

The strategy paid off when Denison’s Brooks Davy (Wilmington, NC/Episcopal) turned the ball over at the 3:25 mark, with junior defenseman Jake Worrell (Powell, OH/Olentangy Liberty) picking up the loose ball. Leyden fired a shot with 1:28 to play, with Big Red keeper Reeves McKenney (Roanoke, VA/Culver Academy) making the save and Hannibal George (Pittsburgh, PA/The Kiski School) gathering in the loose ball to give the hosts a final chance. After a Denison time out with 1:13 to play, the Big Red had shots by Jake Waxter (Baltimore, MD/Gilman) and Owen Armstrong (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Latin) go wide before Rigger snared a final shot from Wilson to the right of the cage in the final seconds to seal the victory.

Max Tennant (Englewood, CO/Cherry Creek) led the Bishops with three goals, while Steven Hildebrand (Berwyn, PA/Conestoga) and Jamieson each had two goals and an assist. Rigger finished with 10 saves in the Ohio Wesleyan crease. Butler had three goals for Denison. McKenney recorded 11 saves for the Big Red.

The rubber match was set between Denison and OWU after both squads cruised to opening round victories on May 9th. The Denison offense put 19 goals on the scoreboard between the second and third quarter allowing them to run away from Illinois Wesleyan for the 25-9 win, while Ohio Wesleyan outscored Aurora, 8-0, during the middle two quarters on the way to a 13-5 win at Selby Stadium.

Ohio Wesleyan and Gettysburg have met four times in the NCAA Division III playoffs, with Ohio Wesleyan winning one of those games. The teams last met in a 2015 quarterfinal matchup, with Gettysburg winning a 9-5 decision in Gettysburg, PA. Gettysburg has won the last three playoff meetings between the teams.  Ohio Wesleyan won the first NCAA Division III tournament matchup between the teams, taking a 12-5 decision at Selby Field in Delaware, Ohio, in a first-round matchup of an 8-team tournament.

The winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal game will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of Wednesday’s Salisbury-Dickinson game, with the semifinal contest to be held on the campus of one of the competing institutions.