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Denison captures 20th NCAC crown

Claudia Rafi  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Claudia Rafi | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio—For the 20th time since 1985, Denison University women's lacrosse is North Coast Athletic Conference Champions.  They clinched their third-straight conference title and ran their NCAC winning streak to 29 after a 17-6 victory over Oberlin College to close out the regular season.

The win locks Denison into the No. 1 seed in next week's NCAC Tournament. The Big Red will host No. 4 seed Allegheny on Wednesday in Granville at 5:30 p.m.

Oberlin entered the game in second place in the standings and a win over the Big Red would have given them a share of the conference title.  The first half was snug, as Oberlin took a 1-0 lead but the Big Red responded with four-straight goals over a 17-minute span and managed to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Denison's offense came alive, scoring five goals in the first nine minutes.  Kiely Noonan scored three of the five and Claudia Rafi supplied the other two.

Denison outscored the Yeowomen 13-4 over the final 30 minutes and outshot Oberlin 24-11 in the period.  Noonan led all scorers with six goals and two assists on 12 shots. She also finished with four draw controls while running her season goal total to 59.

Rafi followed with four goals and one assist while Leah Israel and Maddy Heher also tallied hat-tricks.  Israel led all players with six draw controls and three caused turnovers.  Senior midfielder Halle Walsh added one goal and two assists to round out the Big Red scorers.

Becca Jones got the start and made four saves in 30 minutes.  Hannah Magarian played the second half and also posted four saves.

For Oberlin, Natalie Rauchle scored four goals on nine shots.  Sienna Marcelle had 15 saves in goal for the Yeowomen.