No. 2 RIT Survives No. 16 Denison in Overtime

The 18 wins is a program record for wins in a season and the 18-0 start is the best start in program history. The 281 goals scored by the Tigers this season breaks the old mark of 272 set back in 2006.

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In March, the Denison men's swimming team won a national championship, essentially by a half inch, when the Big Red out touched Emory at the wall in the meet's final event. Today, Denison took their best shot at undefeated and second-ranked RIT, but that half inch, which can be so cruel at times, failed to bounce in Denison's direction resulting in a 13-12 overtime loss from Rochester, N.Y.

With the score tied 12-12 halfway into the first sudden-victory overtime, Denison's Tanner Smith (Boxford, Mass./Brooks School) attempted a shot nearly identical to the one which sent Ohio Wesleyan packing in Wednesday's first round. Today, Smith's shot once again looked perfect coming off his stick, but this time it hit the right post of the goalie cage. One half inch more to the left and Denison is making their 12th NCAA Quarterfinal appearance in school history.

Instead, RIT won one of many furious ground ball battles and quickly advanced the ball into scoring territory. Less than 30 seconds after Smith's shot was turned away by iron, RIT's Kelso Davis scored the game winner from just outside the crease to lock up the dramatic 13-12 overtime win for the Tigers.

The loss ends Denison's 2011 season with a record of 11-4 while RIT moves on to the NCAA's round of eight with an unblemished record of 18-0.

Both teams struggled early adjusting to the tempo and the wet field conditions. RIT's home field advantage assisted them early on as they jumped out to a 4-2 lead after one quarter of play thanks to one extra-man goal and a fast break score by Davis.

In the second quarter the Tigers took a 5-2 lead thanks to Davis' third score of the game but Denison mounted a comeback after a man-up goal by Smith off a feed from Emmett Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) with 10:42 left. That goal would spark a streak of four-straight goals by DU which would give them a 6-5 lead with 6:04 left in the quarter.

Three of those four goals came via quick-strike scores from Chapin Speidel (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's Belfield), Davis Lukens (Marietta, Ga./Holy Innocents') and Porter McKay (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) who gave the Tigers a taste of their own medicine with a fast break goal off a face-off win.

RIT would respond by scoring three of the next four goals to take an 8-7 lead into the second half. In the third quarter Lukens would start things off by bouncing a goal between the RIT goalies' legs, tying the game at 8-8. The Tigers rallied with two goals from Davis and Tyler Russell but the see-saw would turn in DU's favor once again.

Immediately following Russell's goal, Big Red face-off specialist Corey Daff (South Hamilton, Mass./Hamilton-Wenham) would win the face-off, scoop the ground ball and score his first career goal in a matter of seconds, giving the Big Red an instant shot of adrenalin. Three minutes later Jones would notch his second goal of the day off a pass from Colin Molloy (Stamford, Conn./Fairfield Prep) to tie the game at 10-10 and that is how the score would remain heading to the final 15 minutes of play.

With just 5:57 to play in the contest, Denison took their largest lead of the game at 12-10 when Lukens scored his third goal of the afternoon. With RIT staggered the Big Red were searching for that one knock-out punch. RIT's Davis would respond again, this time with his fifth of six goals on the day, giving his squad a punchers chance with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter.

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