April 29, 2014

Big Red heading to Allegheny for NCAC Semifinal

The North Coast Athletic Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament will begin on Wednesday and the third-seeded Denison Big Red will travel to No. 2 seed Allegheny for a 6 p.m. draw from Frank B. Fuhrer Field in Meadville, Pa.

Denison finished in third place in the NCAC regular season standings after going 6-2 in league play while posting an 11-4 record.  Denison's only two conference losses came against regular season champion, Wittenberg, and second-place Allegheny.

In the Big Red's regular season meeting against Allegheny on March 29, the Gators scored the final three goals of the game over the last eight minutes of the second half to pull off a 14-12 come-from-behind win over Denison.  Allegheny got eight goals from Kelsey Rodgers and seven assists from Mackenzie Bell in that contest. Bell leads the nation in assists per game (4.6), and Rodgers is ranked 50th nationally in goals per game (3.6).

This game features two of the top scoring offenses in the nation.  Allegheny is averaging 15.6 goals per game and is ranked 20th in scoring.  Denison is right behind at 15.2 goals per outing and is ranked 24th in NCAA Division III.

The Big Red offense is a balanced attack led by first-year Claire Ludlow (36 goals), and sophomore Carol Allen (32 goals).  Junior Molly Chapman has tallied 25 goals and a team-high 33 assists and 95 draw controls.  With her next assist she will become the fourth player in NCAC history to score 100 career goals and total 100 career assists.

Defensively, midfielder Whitney Powel has been DU's best all-around threat. She leads the team with 22 caused turnovers, 46 ground balls, and is second on the squad with 50 draw controls.  She has also scored 19 goals and contributed 12 assists.

Allegheny is led in scoring by Rodgers who has racked up 58 goals in 15 starts.  Mackenzie Bell has 69 assists, which is a new NCAC single-season record.  As a team, Allegheny is enjoying its finest season in program history at 15-1.  Their lone loss came in overtime against Wittenberg on April 5.

In goal, Allegheny's Kaelin Clogan has a .467 save percentage and 9.74 goals against average in 15 starts.  DU starter, Laura Van Horn, has made 13 starts and has a save percentage of .402 and a 9.71 goals against average.

The winner of the Denison-Allegheny semifinal will advance to Saturday's NCAC Championship at the site of the highest remaining seed.  In the other semifinal, top-seeded Wittenberg will host No.4 seed, Wooster at 6 p.m.