DU comeback falls short in OT

Erin Keller scored four of her five goals in the close minutes of the second half and overtime.
Erin Keller scored four of her five goals in the close minutes of the second half and overtime.

Denison battled back from a 5-goal deficit over the final 17 minutes of regulation, forcing overtime, before falling to Wittenberg 18-17 from Piper Stadium in Granville. 

In a game that harkened back to last year's North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game, Denison's mettle was tested once again against the conference-leading Tigers.  With 13:29 remaining in the game, Wittenberg's Becca Joseph scored her fifth goal of the game off a free position shot to put her squad up 12-8.

Denison would proceed to go on a 5-0 run powered by two goals from Carol Allen and one score each from Kelsey Wright, Claudia Rafi and Erin Keller.  Keller's free positon goal with 2:17 gave Denison its first lead since the early stages of the first half.

From that point until the end of regulation, who ever won the draw control was scoring.  Wittenberg would score the next two goals to take a 15-14 lead with 54 seconds left in the second half.  After a Wittenberg timeout, Keller won the draw control and drove to the cage and scored, tying the match a 15-15.  With 10 seconds left, Denison's Allen did take a shot that was saved by Wittenberg goalie Katie Reuter.

In overtime, Claire Ludlow struck first with a free position goal 48 seconds into the period.  Wittenberg would answer with three-straight goals from Olivia Lash, Megan Loofburrow and Logan Warye.

With 1:10 to play in overtime DU trailed 18-16.  A draw control by Ludlow would result in another goal by Keller with 22 seconds to play.  The Tigers would win the ensuing draw but promptly turned it over.  Denison recovered at midfield but did not have a chance to put a final shot on cage.

Keller controlled six draws and led DU with five goals off nine shots.  Ludlow posted four goals off six shots. She also helped with three draw controls.  Isabel Swicklik had five ground balls and three caused turnovers.  Melissa Weinsz chipped in four caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Wittenberg got six goals apiece from Lash and Joseph.  Warye scored four goals, two assists and six draw controls.  Reuter finished with 11 saves while Denison goalie Laura Van Horn finished with 12.

Denison falls to 3-5 while Wittenberg improves to 5-1.  The Big Red will look to get back on track on Friday (April 3) when they travel to Delaware, Ohio for a 7 p.m. clash with Ohio Wesleyan.