GRANVILLE, Ohio – Denison's successes on the lacrosse field has placed them in some elite company. Over the last four seasons, the Big Red has won 65 games and has been in the thick of the hunt for a Division III National Championship. After falling one goal short of a trip to Championship Weekend in Foxboro in 2017, Denison came roaring back in 2018 with its most difficult schedule in program history. A 5-0 start propelled DU to it's highest national ranking in program history (#2) and despite a mid-season loss to a conference rival, Denison responded by winning it's fourth NCAC Tournament title, clinching the program's 23rd NCAA Tournament berth.
Denison may have said goodbye to first-team All-American Liam Rooney after their magical run in 2017, but head coach Mike Caravana returned with a talented group of veterans that made the 2018 Big Red a dangerous matchup for all eight of it's nationally ranked opponents on the schedule. After a 16-4 campaign, the Big Red were recognized heavily by the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA). Sophomore attackman Peter Pittroff was named to the All-American squad and was the West Region Offensive Player of the Year. Senior Ben Duhoski was also named to the IMLCA's All-American team for the second straight year.
Duhoski and Pittroff were joined on the All-Region first-team by junior faceoff specialist Henry DeCamp and senior defenseman Liam Burman. Jake Waxter (midfielder) and Sam Dyson (long-stick midfielder) earned second-team recognition and junior attackman Spencer Butler received honorable mention.
Pittroff, who was also a second-team USILA All-American, came after a sophomore campaign where he led the Big Red with 74 assists and 107 points and placed third on the team with 33 goals. He ranked third in the nation in assists per game (3.7) and was named the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Pittroff was a driving force behind on one of the nation's most potent offensive attacks, as he helped Denison rank 16th nationally with 14.85 goals per game.
Waxter and Butler assisted Pittroff in DU's scoring efforts this season, combining for 84 goals, 29 assists and 219 total shots taken. After making the all-region first-team in 2017 as a sophomore, Waxter earned a second-team nod in 2018 after leading the Denison midfield with 31 goals, 11 assists, and 42 points. The first-team All-NCAC selection also finished third on the team in shots (62) and EMO goals (4). Butler, who joined Waxter on the all-conference first-team, finished second on the squad in goals (55), assists (18), and tied for second with 73 points. Named to the USILA Team of the Week on April 25, the Essex Fells, N.J. native finished tops on the squad with 11 EMO goals, and also recorded 23 ground balls.
Making his second-straight appearance as an IMLCA All-American, Duhoski anchored the Big Red defense with 50 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers, helping the unit tie for an NCAC-best 7.74 goals-against average. Totaling 164 ground balls, 88 caused turnovers and 10 goals for his career, Duhoski leaves Denison as a three-time USILA All-American and All-NCAC honoree.
Joining Duhoski as a first-team all-region selection, Burman was also named to the USILA All-American honorable mention squad following a senior season where he collected 22 ground balls and posted a career-high 13 caused turnovers. This marked his second-consecutive season of at least 20 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers.
After making his debut as a USILA All-American honorable mention, DeCamp joins the all-region first-team in back-to-back seasons following an NCAC and team-leading 272 face-off victories and a face-off winning percentage of .690, which ranked eighth in all of Division III. Setting new single-game records in ground balls (20) and face-off wins (21) in a 16-2 victory over DePauw (March 10), the Washington, D.C. native was named the NCAC Specialist of the Year for the second year in a row.
Dyson rounded out DU's all-region selections with a spot on the second-team after establishing himself as one of the best long-stick midfielders in the nation. A first-team All-NCAC selection, Dyson posted career-highs in ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (8).
In 25 seasons under Caravana, Denison is 290-93 (.757) with three NCAA Final Four appearances, 17 NCAA Tournament victories. No program in the midwest has more victories during that span.