OWINGS MILLS, Md.-- No. 10 Denison bounced back with a 15-12 victory over No. 14 Franklin & Marshall to close out two days of competition against Division III's elite at the Mustang Classic hosted by Stevenson University.
The Mustang Classic featured 10 of Division III's top-20 ranked teams and the Big Red was paired against No. 8 Dickinson and 14th ranked F&M in consecutive days. After Friday's loss to the Red Devils, the Big Red bounced back with a solid all-around performance against the Diplomats.
Denison circled the wagons at the faceoff X, winning 21-of-30 draws, and the offense was patient, running primarily through All-American attackman Peter Pittroff. DU also got some tremendous goalkeeping during crunch time by sophomore Reeves McKenney to come away with the win.
Every time the Diplomats got on a run, the Big Red had an answer. In the waning minutes of the third quarter, F&M got to within three at 10-7 but Denison's Spencer Butler went five-hole on goalie Scott Hatch with five seconds left in the period to go back on top by four.
With 12:47 to play in the fourth, DU midfielder Owen Armstrong scored one of the flashiest goals this season by a Big Red player when he forced a side-arm shot across his body into the cage to put his team on top, 12-7.
Franklin & Marshall answered, scoring two straight to get to within three. The Diplomats regained possession but McKenney, who was coming off a 16-save outing against Dickinson, stopped A.J. Rigsby at the doorstep. That allowed the Big Red to get out in transition and seconds later Pittroff scored the unsettled goal.
After Pittroff's goal with 5:30 left, Butler added two more tallies, all on feeds from Pittroff to go up 15-9.
In the final minute, F&M added three scores to set the final at 15-12.
Butler's seven-goal performance marked the second-most goals he has scored in a single game at DU. His 11-goal outing in the 2017 NCAA Tournament versus Illinois Wesleyan is the varsity record. Butler's seven goals upped his season total to 22 and his career total to 142. He sits in third-place on Denison's career goal leaderboard, trailing only Andy John '84 (170) and Brady Burton '10 (189).
Pittroff led all players with eight points after a three goal, five assist performance. The junior ran his season assist total to 19 which moves him into a tie for third place all-time at Denison with 109 career assists. His 74-assist season in 2018 was a new varsity single-season record.
Jake Waxter followed with two goals and three ground balls and McKenny ended the day with 15 saves while facing 47 shots from Franklin & Marshall.
Franklin & Marshall (4-3) was led in scoring by Kevin Mollihan's six goals. Luke Keating added four goals and two assists.
Denison (4-2) will return to action on Saturday (March 23) when they take on Rhodes at St. Anne's Belfield in Charlottesville, Virginia at 12 p.m.