Denison prevails in double-OT thriller

Leah Israel  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Leah Israel | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  If a feline has nine lives, then tonight, the Denison Big Red had 10.  Leah Israel scored the game-tying goal at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and first-year Liza Farnham tallied the game-winner in the second overtime pushing Denison to the improbable 13-12 win over Illinois Wesleyan.

At two different points in this contest, it appeared as if the visiting Titans were walking off Deeds Field, winners.  Denison trailed 12-11 with one minute to play in regulation.  IWU had possession and called a timeout to talk over strategy.  They knew Denison would be putting on the full-field press trying to force a turnover.  DU committed a pair of fouls, then finally, with 28 seconds left, Denison's Jane Goodspeed caused a turnover and got the ball moving toward the Denison goal.  The ball was cleared with 16 seconds on the clock and Denison's Kiely Noonan took possession and tried to set up the offense.  With four seconds left she had the ball outside the fan and it looked like DU would not be able to take anything more than a desperation attempt.  At the last possible second, Israel swooped into the picture caught the feed from Noonan and bounced the ball into the goal as the final horn sounded.  The officials converged and gave Denison the goal, forcing OT.

In the first overtime, Denison took the only shot as Claudia Rafi's attempt was saved by Illinois Wesleyan goalie Claire Quist. After six minutes, the two teams went to a second sudden-victory OT session.

The Titans won the draw control in the second overtime and 19 seconds later, Claudia Richman's shot found the back of the cage causing the IWU bench to erupt in what appeared to be a victory.  Once again, the officials converged, made the prerequisite stick check and they called a violation on Titans.  That resulted in a turnover, giving the ball back to the Big Red.  Denison did get a free position shot from Noonan that sailed wide of the cage.  A foul on the Big Red gave the ball back to IWU.

On the Titans' clear attempt, the ball was mishandled, giving possession back to the home team with 17 seconds left in the OT half (overtime periods are divided into two, three-minute halves).

Denison successfully cleared the ball and Farnham drew a foul and was awarded an 8-meter attempt.  Farnham charged the cage and converted the free-position shot for the game-winning goal.

Denison held a 29-16 advantage in shots but the Titans were efficient, scoring on 12 of their 16 attempts.  Israel finished with five goals and two assists and Noonan posted three goals and one assist.

Claudia Rafi tallied two goals and one assist while Farnham, Maddy Heher, and Molly Fischer closed out the scoring for DU.

Grainne Kelly and Dani Engelbreit posted hat tricks for the Titans who fall to 4-4 on the year.

Denison improves to 3-1 and will return to action on Saturday, March 17 when they take on Dickinson at Natchez Field on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.