Top-seeded Denison (15-3) scored the first six goals of the game and never looked back en route to posting a 15-10 victory over second-seeded Oberlin (14-2) in the championship of the 2017 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament to give the Big Red their fourth-straight tournament title and league-leading 11th all-time.
Denison senior attack Claire Ludlow (East Grand Rapids, MI/East) got the scoring started with an unassisted goal at the 28:24 mark, while junior attack Claudia Rafi (Mason, OH/Ursuline Academy) closed out the early six-goal scoring barrage after finding the back of the net with 11:52 left in the half. Oberlin closed the gap at 6-2 on back-to-back goals from senior attack Sara Phister (Phoenix, AZ/Mountain Pointe), but DU scored two of the last three goals in the half to take am 8-3 lead at the break.
DU opened the second half on a 4-1 run, capped off by a goal from sophomore attack Maddy Heher (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) to give the Big Red a 12-4 lead with 21:51 left in the game. The Yeowomen did outscore DU, 6-2, in the final 21 minutes of action, which included two more tallies from Phister, but it wasn't enough as the Big Red posted the five-goal victory to advance to the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament for the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in the last seven years.
Ludlow and Rafi were two of four Big Red players to net a hat trick in the game, while Phister led all scorers in the game with seven total points on five goals and two assists. Oberlin senior goalie Alexa L'Insalata (Plainsboro Twp., NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro North) finished the game with 13 saves in the cage, while DU split duties in the cage with sophomore Hannah Magarian (Minneapolis, MN/Blake) making seven saves and junior Becca Jones (Wolfeboro, NH/Brewster Academy) stopping three shots.
Following the completion of the game, Denison sophomore defender Jane Goodspeed (East Grand Rapids, MI/East) was named the tournament MVP after she finished the two-game stretch with 11 draw controls, five ground balls and four caused turnovers.
2017 NCAC Women's Lacrosse All Tournament Team
Kaelin Clogan, ALL
Shelby Piper, ALL
Emily Wadds, WIT
Mary Alyce Fulong, WIT
Sarah Phister, OBE
Michaela Puterbaugh, OBE
Sloane Garelick, OBE
Sydney Allen, OBE
Halle Walsh, DEN
Claire Ludlow, DEN
Kiely Noonan, DEN
Grace Gavula, DEN
Tournament MVP: Jane Goodspeed, DEN
|Semifinals: Wednesday, May 3rd
||Championship: Saturday, May 6th
|History -- Tournament Stats -- Tickets -- Directions|
The seeds held in the semifinal round of the 2017 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament on Wednesday night, setting up a matchup between top-seeded Denison (14-3) and second-seeded Oberlin (14-1) in the championship game at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday in Granville, Ohio. 2017 marks the second time in the last three years that DU and OBE have matched up in the championship game, with the Big Red defeating the Yeowomen back in 2015.
Top-seeded Denison trailed by two just over halfway through the first-half but rattled off 11 of the game's next 12 goals, including 12-straight to secure a 19-9 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Wittenberg (11-7) on Wednesday evening in Granville, Ohio. The Big Red will now advance to the championship game for the fourth year in a row where they hold a perfect 3-0 record in their three previous appearances.
Denison freshman Kiely Noonan (Wellesley, MA/Wellesley) registered four points during the Big Red stretch of 12 goals and finished her first postseason action with a game-high six points on four goals and two assists. Noonan also collected two ground balls and added four draw controls. Senior Claire Ludlow (East Grand Rapids, MI/East Grand Rapids), junior Leah Israel (Bloomfield Hills, MI/Cranbrook Kingswood) and sophomore Maddy Heher (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) each recorded a hat trick in the victory for the Big Red. Defensively Denison was a perfect 18-for-18 on clearing attempts and limited Wittenberg to just two goals and 13 shots over the final 40 minutes of the game. Wittenberg was led senior Becca Joseph (Toledo, OH/St. Ursula) and junior Victoria Zysik (Perrysburg, OH/Perrysburg) after the each registered two goals and two assists for four points apiece.
Denison outshot Wittenberg, 45-24 and held an edge on ground balls, 32-16. The Tigers did hold an advantage in draw controls, 18-11. In goal, Denison juniorBecca Jones (Wolfeboro, NH/Brewster Academy) and sophomore Hannah Magarian (Minneapolis, MN/Blake) combined to make five saves, while sophomore Mary Furlong (Louisville, KY/Sacred Heart) racked up 16 total saves between the pipes for Wittenberg.
Second-seeded Oberlin defended its turf in the semifinal round of the 2017 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament with a 13-8 victory over third-seeded Allegheny (9-6) on Wednesday afternoon at the Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex in Ohio. It was a back-and-fourth affair early on as each team found the back of the net four times in the first 20 minutes of action, culminating in a 4-4 tie at the 10:33 mark on a Gator goal from freshman midfielder Lexi Einsig (Reading, PA/Exter Twp.). However, the Yeowomen scored the final three goals of the half, which included freshman Eliza Amber (Chelsea, VT/Chelsea) completing the first-half hat trick with a goal at the 4:18 mark to help give Oberlin a 7-4 lead at the break. Amber also scored the Yeowomen's first two goals of the game.
The Gators did pull within two, 9-7, early in the second half on a goal from sophomore Alex Zielinski (Erie, PA/McDowell) at the 14:45 mark, but Oberlin again answered by scoring three-straight over the next minute of game action, capped off by an unassisted goal from junior midfielder Natalie Rauchle (Edina, MN/Edina) that put the Yeowomen up 12-7 with 13:51 to play. Both teams found the net one more time in the final minutes of the game as the Yeowomen posted the five-goal victory to advance to the NCAC Tournament title game for just the second time in the last 17 years after also qualifying in 2015. Amber led all players in the game with four goals, while Rauchle finished the contest with three goals and one assist for four total points.
Junior attack Shelby Piper (Littleton, CO/Chatfield) led the AC attack on the afternoon with three goals, while senior Jessie Thiessen (Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Chapel) added one goal and eight draws in her final collegiate game. In goal, senior Alexa L'Insalata (Plainsboro Twp., NJ/West Windsor-Plainsboro North) made 11 saves for the Yeowomen, while senior Kaelin Clogan (Pittsburgh, PA/Pine Richland) finished the game with eight saves in the Allegheny cage.
After winning its league-leading 19th NCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship with its second-straight perfect 8-0 regular season record against league foes, Denison has earned the top seed in the 2017 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament, which begins with semifinal matchups on Wednesday (5/3) night.
The Big Red (8-0) now entertain fourth-seeded Wittenberg (5-3) on Wednesday night, while second-seeded Oberlin (7-1) welcomes third-seeded Allegheny (5-3) on the same day. The championship game will be held on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the semifinal round. The tournament winner receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Div. III Tournament.
Denison leads the way with 19 NCAC titles all-time (1985-1994, '96, 1999-'01, '06, '11-'12, '16-'17), followed by Wooster with six (2002-04, '07, '09, '10), Oberlin with three (1995, '97-'98), Ohio Wesleyan ('05, '08) and Wittenberg ('14-'15) with two each and Kenyon (2013) and with one.