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Women’s Soccer defeats OWU for 10th NCAC title

Denison women's soccer  |  Photo by Gail Murphy
Denison women's soccer | Photo by Gail Murphy

DELAWARE, Ohio – Denison women's soccer clinched the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship by defeating Ohio Wesleyan, 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Jay Martin Soccer Complex. The Big Red have garnered a conference-best 10 NCAC titles, and this is the program's first outright conference championship since 2009.

Capturing their first conference title since 2013, the Big Red secured the hardware after outshooting the Bishops 30-8 on the afternoon, while also finishing with 13 corner kicks, compared to OWU's three.

Opening the contest with the first two shots of the game, DU applied the pressure in the eighth and ninth minutes when senior Sam Haseltine combined for four shots, including two on goal. The Big Red followed with back-to-back headers from Katie Livingston and Maggie Armstrong, but Livingston broke through for Denison in the 19th minute when Haseltine sent a corner in from the right side and the freshman headed it past OWU's keeper Mack Brunke for the first goal of the match.

DU carried a 1-0 lead out of the break and took the first seven shots of the second half, but Ohio Wesleyan answered in the 71st minute on a goal just inside the left post from Ashley Smiley that tied the match at 1-1.

Less than five minutes later, sophomore Kelly O'Neill had her shot blocked by the OWU defense, but Armstrong gathered the loose ball at 75:57 and punched it in the net for her ninth goal of the season and to put Denison back in front, 2-1.

After stopping the Bishops' final two shots of the match, the Big Red earned their 12th win of the season and improved to 6-0-2 in the NCAC to finish first overall in the conference.

Armstrong and freshman Liz Gilbert led the match with five shots and three shots on goal apiece. O'Neill and Haseltine tied for second with four shots each, and Livingston and Emma Phinney both added three.

In goal, Patil Tcholakian tallied two saves for the Big Red in 90 minutes of action, while Brunke finished with 10 saves for OWU.

Entering the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed, Denison will return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 31 when they host the semifinal round of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at Barclay-Thomsen Field. They will face Wittenberg who qualified as the No. 4 seed in this year's tournament at 7 p.m.