Rivalry renewed in NCAA First Round
The NCAA Tournament selection committee unveiled their 2011 Division III Tournament bracket live on NCAA.COM Sunday night and the 10-3 Denison Big Red will host Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday (May 11) in the first round. The Big Red were one of four, Pool B selections to the tournament. This is the program's seventh consecutive tournament bid and their 19th NCAA appearance in school history.
This will mark another postseason chapter in the Denison-Ohio Wesleyan lacrosse rivalry. The two conference rivals will clash for the 88th time since 1958. This will also mark the ninth time the two schools have played in the NCAA Tournament. Denison leads the all-time series with a 44-42-1 record but OWU holds a 5-3 advantage in the NCAA postseason. DU and OWU have played twice in the NCAA Tournament since 2006 and Denison has come away victorious in both contests, prevailing 10-9 in overtime in 2006, and 12-2 in 2009.
Denison earned a share of the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference championship by posting a 4-1 record in conference play. Denison's lone blemish was a 9-8 loss to NCAA Tournament participant, Wittenberg, on April 16. The Big Red check into the tournament with the nation's No. 5 ranked defense. They are holding the opposition to just 5.62 goals per game. A big reason behind that stout defense has been the play of sophomore goalie Nick Petracca who is ranked second, nationally in goals against average (5.27) and seventh in save percentage (.625). Senior Tanner Smith is averaging a team-best 3.0 points per game and Emmett Jones is scoring 2.0 goals per game.
Ohio Wesleyan is making their 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and they bring a five-game winning streak with them to the tournament. Their last defeat actually came against the Big Red, 12-6, on April 2 at Selby Field. The Bishops are 10-3 with their only losses coming against the Big Red, Salisbury and Lynchburg who were all ranked nationally at the time. OWU is led in scoring by sophomore attack Colin Short (21g;18a). Goalie Stephen Ford is allowing 6.31 goals per game while stopping 57 percent of shots faced.
The winner of the Denison-Ohio Wesleyan contest will advance to Saturday's second-round and will travel to Rochester Institute of Technology who is ranked second in the most recent USILA top-20 poll and is one of A start time for Wednesday's contest will be determined on Monday.