For a number of Denison spring sports this is quickly becoming the season of improbable outcomes.
On Wednesday night in Wooster, Denison defeated The College of Wooster, 14-11 to advance to the championship of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. This was a one-goal affair when these two teams met on April 8 so this wouldn't classify as improbable. The fact that Denison University will now host the NCAC Championship game on Saturday did not seem likely at the beginning of the day, but after a 13-9 upset by No. 4 seeded Oberlin at top-seeded Wittenberg, the Big Red will play for the title in front of their home crowd.
While Denison made the most of its offensive opportunities, transition defense is what punched their ticket to the final. Clearing was a problem for the Fighting Scots from the onset thanks to the Big Red's swarming attack on defense. Ten of Wooster's 25 turnovers would come in clearing situations and a number led directly to goals for DU via fast break opportunities.
Trailing 1-0 early in the contest, Denison would score four-straight goals over a 10 minute period. After a pair of goals from Wooster's Ellie Hudson-Heck cut the DU advantage to 4-3, Denison senior Whitney Powel scored off a free position attempt that put Denison back on top by two.
Denison would score three of the first four goals of the second half and led 9-7 with just over 15 minutes to play in the contest. That's when Lizzy Pellicane took it upon herself to see that Denison would live to play (and practice) another day. Pellicane's second goal of the match would find the back of the net with 15:08 to play via an 8-meter shot. She would go on to score three more times over the next nine minutes of action and, with 6:02 remaining, Denison found themselves with a rather comfortable 14-9 lead.
Wooster would tack on two goals in the final minute of play to set the final at 14-11.
Pellicane finished with a career-high five goals and one assist off six shot attempts. Kelsey Wright netted a hat trick with three goals and one assist while Erin Keller finished with two goals and one assist to go along with three draw controls. Powel would pace Denison in the draw control category with six. She also caused three turnovers, tying for the team lead with Emily Marlatt.
Becca Jones recorded eight saves in the cage for Denison while Isabel Perman racked up 11 saves for Wooster. Hudson-Heck paced the Scot offense with five of their 11 goals on the night. She also collected six ground balls, had four draw controls and forced three turnovers.
Denison will host Oberlin College in the NCAC Championship on Saturday, May 2 at 1 p.m.