GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison converted three of four shootout attempts and Big Red goalkeeper Teya Adams saved three of our shootout attempts to lead Denison to a 2-1 victory over Centre College on Saturday at Piper Stadium.
In what was a season-opening matchup between two of the top programs in the Midwest, this one lived up to the billing. Denison is coming off a 17-4 campaign in 2017 which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Centre finished 2017 with a 17-5 record after advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Neither team scored in the first half, but Centre got on the board first in the 49th minute when Emily Schank received a pass from Savannah Elpers in front of the cage and converted.
The Big Red seized an opportunity six minutes later when two Colonels were handed a green card and a yellow card within 23 seconds of each other. That allowed the Big Red to take a two-player advantage. With 10 minutes to play in the game, Charlotte Happel sent a pass into the circle to Charlotte Godfrey who pivoted and scored the equalizer.
The goal by Godfrey sent the match into overtime. Just over a minute into the first extra session, Centre's Sarah Briggs got free on a breakaway but Denison's All-American back, Michelle Kabaira was there to stifle the scoring threat.
Centre did draw a penalty corner attempt as time expired in the first overtime, but the Colonels didn't take a shot.
In double-overtime, Centre outshot Denison 2-0 while attempting three corners but the Denison defense held strong.
For the first time since September 17, 2015, Denison played in a game that was decided by a shootout.
The Big Red went first, and Maya Tumiwa converted her attempt to put DU up 1-0. Center's first attempt was saved by Adams but Godfrey's shot went just wide of the cage. Centre's Savannah Elpers followed with a shot that was denied by Adams and Rachel Kelsey gave the Big Red a 2-0 lead on DU's third attempt. The Colonels got on the board when Caroline Brotzge finished at the doorstep, but Caroline Little answered for Denison to put DU on top, 3-1. With the game hanging in the balance, Centre's attempt to say alive was saved by Adams to end the game.
Adams finished with five saves in 90 minutes of regulation play. Her three saves in the shootout do not count in the final statistics but their importance can't be overstated. Denison and Centre tied with 11 shots each. DU was led in shots by Godfrey with seven. Lucy Pearsall followed with two shots.
Denison opens North Coast Athletic Conference play on Wednesday (Sept. 5) when they travel to DePauw for a 6 p.m. start.