GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison captured its fourth-straight North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship in women's lacrosse after a 15-10 victory over Oberlin College. With the win, Denison receives the NCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Big Red set the tone early, scoring the first six goals of the game. Less than two minutes into the game, a foul on Oberlin's Michaela Puterbaugh gave Claire Ludlow a free position attempt which she converted for her 42nd goal of the season. Ludlow has been especially efficient on free position attempts, scoring at a 50 percent clip.
First-year attacker Kiely Noonan put DU on top 2-0 with her 46th goal of the year and the score would hold over the next eight minutes until Leah Israel scored an unassisted goal with 19:03 to play in the first.
Draw controls were crucial to Denison's successes. They won eight of 12 in the first half and took 11 of 15 in the second. Two minutes after Israel's goal, Ludlow scored again via an eight-meter attempt. With 13:45 left in the first, Reid Hirschey found Virginia Hamilton with the goal after a ground ball by Rafi kept the possession alive.
DU's sixth goal also came on a pass from Hirschey on a goal from Rafi.
Oberlin got on the board at the 11-minute mark as Sara Phister scored after a draw control by Sloane Garelick. Phister found the back of the net once again, to cut the DU lead to 6-2.
The Big Red scored two of the final three goals in the half to take an 8-3 lead into the intermission.
In the second half, Denison started strong once again, scoring four of the first five goals in the period to take a commanding 12-4 lead. The Yeowomen cut the deficit to five with 6:57 left on Phister's fifth goal of the day but Denison responded with a shorthanded goal by Hamilton and another free position goal by Ludlow to take a 15-8 lead with 3:40 to go. Oberlin netted two more in the final minutes to set the final at 15-10.
Junior defender Jane Goodspeed was named the NCAC Tournament MVP after totaling eight draw controls, three caused turnovers and two ground balls in the championship.
Offensively, Denison had four individuals notch hat tricks as Ludlow (3g, 1a), Rafi (3g), Israel (3g,1a) and Noonan (3g) all had big scoring days. Hamilton scored twice and Maddy Heher also posted a goal.
Becca Jones got the start and turned in three saves. Hannah Magarian played the second half and had seven saves. Oberlin's Alexa L'Insalata finished with 13 saves for Oberlin while playing all 60 minutes.
The NCAA Division III selections will be announced on Sunday (May 7) at 9:30 p.m. The selection show will air live on NCAA.com.