Denison Rallies by Wooster to Win NCAC Championship

Denison battled back from a three-goal deficit over the final 13 minutes of the second half, resulting in a 10-9 victory over Wooster in the NCAC championship at Deeds Field-Piper Stadium. The win marks the 16th conference championship for Denison and their since 2006.

The victory extended the Big Red's winning streak to 10-games. It also assures them of the conference's automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III Tournament which will begin on Wednesday, May 11 at a site to be determined.

The Big Red, who were picked to finish an astonishing sixth of seven teams in the NCAC preseason coaches' poll, ran the table with a 6-0 conference record in the regular season, and won a pair of one-goal contests in the conference tournament to walk away with the conference championship.

Last Saturday the Big Red rallied to defeat Wooster, 10-9, locking up the No. 1 seed to this weekend's tournament. One week later, the Big Red was faced with a similar challenge and an even greater deficit. Trailing by three after Cassie Greenbaum's fourth goal of the game with 13:28 left Denison needed a quick goal.

In order to score a quick goal DU needed possession and that's where the Big Red's biggest weapon, Carly Tschantz (Omaha, Neb./New Trier[Ill.]), came into play. Tschantz entered the game ranked second in all of NCAA Division III lacrosse in draw controls per game and was continuing her frenetic pace throughout this game.

On the ensuing draw, Tschantz snagged the ball out of the air and on a dead sprint toward the goal she fired a shot past Wooster goalie Shawna Ferris, trimming the Wooster lead back to 9-7 while giving her team a much-needed boost.

The score would remain 9-7 in favor of Wooster until the 8:10 mark when Molly Cornbrooks (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park) hit Alex Thurner (Cincinnati, Ohio/Summit Country Day) on a beautiful cut in front of the goal. Three minutes later DU would knot the score at 9-9 when Molly Sbrega (Portland, Maine/Deering) broke free for an unassisted goal.

The ensuing draw would again go to Denison and after some patient offense, Sbrega found Jenny Strathern (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) on a quick-strike cut to the goal which put Denison in front for the first time since the 17:12 mark of the first half.

DU would win their 19th draw of the contest after the Strathern goal, but a turnover would send the ball back to the Fighting Scots. With 2:40 remaining, Wooster's Clare Nelson-Johnson was awarded an 8-meter attempt after a foul on Cornbrooks. Nelson-Johnson's shot was saved by Grace Bodenmann (Pelham Manor, N.Y./Pelham Memorial) and would be followed by a Wooster turnover thanks to a check by Lauren Adams (Louisville, Ky./Kentucky Country Day). Denison would clear the ball with two minutes left and never relinquish possession en route to the championship.

The Big Red won 19 of 21 draw controls on the day and was led by Tschantz's nine draws. Thurner and Olivia Shiland (South Hamilton, Mass./Hamilton-Wenham) added four draws and Bodenmann posted six saves. In Denison's two games against Wooster this year, DU has controlled 33 of 42 attempted draws.

The scoring was balanced as Phoebe Myhrum (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side Academy) posted two goals and one assist to lead the team in points. Strathern added two goals and Carter finished with a pair of goals. In addition to her nine draws, Tschantz also led the team with three caused turnovers.

Wooster was led by Greenbaum's four goals off only four shot attempts. Nelson-Johnson posted three assists and one goal while Katie Smart chipped in one goal and two assists. Ferris added seven saves and three ground balls in the cage.

Denison outshot Wooster 20-16 but lost the turnover battle 19-15.

DU's 10-game winning streak is the third-longest in school history, and the longest streak since the 1992 squad posted a perfect 16-0 record. The Big Red will take their 13-4 record into the 2011 NCAA Tournament on May 11.


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