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Denison to face Lynchburg in NCAA First Round

Charlotte Happel  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Charlotte Happel | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio -- After a 2-0 win over Wooster in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and a 14-0 mark in the NCAC, Denison will travel to Lynchburg, Va. to face the University of Lynchburg in the first round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship on Wednesday, November 7 at 2 p.m.. The winner of the Denison-Lynchburg first-round contest will travel to Glassboro, N.J. for a second-round matchup with No. 3 Rowan University.

Denison field hockey (18-2) is making its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and its fourth appearance under head coach P.J. Soteriades. The Big Red have won 13 straight matches dating back to Sept. 20 when they defeated Ohio Wesleyan in double overtime, 2-1. During the winning streak, Denison has outscored their opponents 34-5.

Sophomore Charlotte Godfrey leads the team in goals (8), assists (6), and points (22), and NCAC Tournament MVP AC Veith is tied for second on the team with five assists while adding four goals. Junior Charlotte Happel and senior All-American Lucy Pearsall are currently tied for second on the team with seven goals each.

While the offense has outscored opponents 50-11 on the year, the defense has been equally impressive, holding the opposition to only 90 shots combined in 20 matches this season. Junior Ali Gakenheimer and sophomore All-American Michelle Kabaira have helped the DU defense post the fifth-best goals-against average in the country (0.53) while holding opponents to less than five shots in 12 contests this season.

Lynchburg enters the contest at 15-5 overall after winning their conference-leading 19th Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship on Saturday night over Shenandoah, 7-2. The Hornets are also riding an 11-match winning streak behind a team-leading 22 goals and 18 assists from senior Nikki Simpao. Jackie Lerro, Isabella Eldridge, and Emily Dudley have also posted 10 or more goals this season for Lynchburg.

The Big Red earned a spot in last year's NCAA Tournament where they suffered a 1-0 double-overtime loss at Washington and Lee in Lexington, Va.