Denison Runs by Wooster in NCAC Semifinals

Denison scored 20 goals for the third time this season, and that offensive output was enough to push the Big Red past Wooster, 20-10, and into Saturday's North Coast Athletic Conference tournament championship.

The victory over the No. 3 seed Fighting Scots sets up a rematch with top-seeded Wittenberg. The Tigers handed Denison's first conference loss since 2010 on April 25 by a final score of 14-12.

In today's semifinal from Granville, temperatures on the field were in the 90s and the Denison offense continued to turn up the heat on the Scots. After a goal by Wooster's Eliza Perry in the opening minute, Denison responded with a 5-0 run over the next 10 minutes of play. Alex Thurner has had a penchant for big games in 2012 and Thursday was no exception. Her goal at the 19:19 mark of the first period kickstarted what would be a five-goal first half for the senior. For the game she matched a season-high with seven goals.

Thurner's goal with 8:59 to play in the first half came via an 8-meter attempt, a reoccurring theme for the Denison offense. Wooster's was whistled for 32 of the game's 51 fouls and many of them were shooting space violations that resulted in free position attempts for the Big Red. Denison took 33 percent of its shots off free-position attempts and they converted at a 50 percent clip.

Both of Olivia Shiland's goals were off free-position attempts and one of Molly Chapman's four goals came as a result of a Wooster foul.

Overall, the first half saw 18 goals and Denison held a 13-5 lead entering the second half. The two teams would trade off goals early in the second half but after two-straight Wooster goals, with 11:36 left in the game Denison's lead had been trimmed to six at 15-9.

That was all it would take for DU to become the aggressor and go on a 5-1 run to close out the game with a 20-10 victory.

Thurner led all players with seven goals while Chapman led the team in points with four goals and four assists. Lisa Feroli and Shiland both ended with two goals and one assist while Erin Keller also scored two goals.

Carly Tschantz posted her third-straight game with double-digit draws as she ended with 11 draw controls, one assist and one caused turnover. DU caused nine of Wooster's 21 turnovers and Isabel Swicklick led the way with three caused turnovers. Molly Cornbrooks and Thurner each had three ground balls and starting goalie Grace Bodenmann turned in a 13-save performance in the cage.

Wooster was led by Perry and Clare Nelson-Johnson who posted two goals and one assist, each. Isabel Baylor caused turnovers and Molly Sennett had three ground balls. Goalie Shawna Ferris also had 13 saves for the Fighting Scots.

DU outshot Wooster 36-30 and ended with 22 draws compared to 10 for the visitors. The Big Red improves to 13-4 while the Scots' season ends at 12-5-1. DU will play Wittenberg for the conference championship and the right to advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in Springfield, Ohio.


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