GRANVILLE, Ohio – Following a 21-4 defeat of Calvin College on Saturday in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament, Denison women's lacrosse will set their sights on a regional matchup with Salisbury University on Saturday, May 19 in Salisbury, Md. at 11:30 a.m.
Saturday's second game will feature Trinity (Conn.) College and Rhodes College with a start time of 2:30 p.m. The winners of each game will square off at Sea Gull Stadium on Sunday, May 20 in the NCAA regional finals at 1 p.m.
After qualifying for their 20th NCAA postseason by winning the North Coast Athletic Conference for the fifth-straight year, the Big Red enter the round of 16 with a record of 17-2, including a 13-game winning streak that started on March 25.
Their 17 wins this season broke the previous record of 16 set in 1992 when the Big Red was perfect at 16-0. This also marks the fourth trip to the Sweet 16 in school history, as well as their first trip since the NCAA Tournament expanded in the mid-2000's.
Leading the way for the nation's eighth-ranked offense (17.47 goals per game) is sophomore Kiely Noonan, who has recorded 72 goals (tied for 21st nationally), 28 assists and 100 points this season. During her 100-point campaign, the first-team All-NCAC selection has tallied four or more goals in 13 different games this season and has compiled six or more points on eight different occasions. She also sits two points behind Denison's single-season points leader, Cheryl Connolly, who reached 102 in 1994.
Seniors Claudia Rafi and Leah Israel have created an offensive trio with Noonan, as both have totaled more than 40 goals and 55 points in 2018. Israel has also assisted on the defensive side with 40 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers while notching 74 draw controls. She ranks top-five on the team in each of those categories.
On defense, junior Jane Goodspeed headlines a veteran group that has caused 14.53 turnovers per game (tied for 12th nationally) and has gathered 27.89 ground balls each contest this season, good for seventh in Division III. As Denison's all-time leader in caused turnovers (98), Goodspeed has also tallied 68 ground balls this season, placing her second in the single-season record books.
On the other side of the field, Salisbury enters the game with a 19-1 record, including a No. 2 ranking in the final Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) regular season poll. Led by senior attacks Dana King (42 goals, 60 points) and Krissy Murphy (27 goals, 39 assists), the Sea Gulls captured their 18th Capital Athletic Conference title this season to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They advanced to the third round after recently defeating Meredith College, 19-11, on Sunday, May 13 in Salisbury.
Saturday's contest will be the second-ever meeting between Denison and Salisbury in the national tournament, last competing on May 10, 2000, in Salisbury, Md.
Conference Dominance: Thanks to a 17-6 win over Oberlin on April 28, 2018, the Big Red locked up their 29th-straight victory in North Coast Athletic Conference play. Dating back to April 11, 2015, Denison has totaled three-straight seasons of 8-0 in the NCAC.
A Year to Remember: During the 2018 season, DU has broken single-season records for wins (17), goals (332), assists (143), points (475), ground balls (530), and caused turnovers (277). The Big Red have also outscored their opponents 332-137, defeating the opposition by an average of more than 10 goals per game.
Coaching Excellence: Surpassing the 100th win of her coaching career (Morrisville State/Denison) this season, head coach Amanda Daniels has compiled a record of 69-24 over five seasons in Granville, including a 36-4 mark in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Her 69 wins also rank third all-time at Denison, sitting 11 wins behind Stephani Schmidt's program-best 80 career victories.
Save the Day: Totaling 120 combined saves in 2018, Denison's goalie duo of Becca Jones and Hannah Magarian both rank in the top three in the NCAC in goals-against, goals-against average and save percentage. The combo has also allowed four goals or less on seven occasions this season.
Masters of Defense: Assisting on the NCAC's top defensive unit are all-conference selections Emily Marlatt and Grace Gavula. Totaling 83 ground balls and 56 caused turnovers this season, this tandem has helped the Big Red post a goals-against average of 7.21 this season, good for a top-20 national ranking.
Meet in the Middle: Senior Halle Walsh and junior Colleen Muldoon have provided consistency in the midfield for the Big Red this season. The pair has combined for 25 goals, 66 ground balls, and 34 caused turnovers. Walsh also earned All-NCAC recognition in 2018, making her all-conference debut as an honorable mention selection.