A History of the Denison Lacrosse Program

Matt McGinnis, who previously played and coached at Salisbury and was Caravana's top assistant in 2005, led Denison lacrosse from 2006 to 2008, and his three years added to the program's legacy. With his national championship experience at Salisbury, McGinnis brought a different approach, emphasizing fast-paced play and high level of competitiveness. His players responded by reaching the NCAA tournament each year, winning first-round games in 2006 and 2008. Denison also recorded double-digit win totals in each of those three years, highlighted by a 14-3 record in 2008. After McGinnis accepted an assistant athletic director position at his alma mater, the seat was still warm for a Caravana return to Granville in 2009.

"In many ways, it worked out fine," said Caravana of his departure and return to Denison. "The years [at Woodberry Forest showed it was] good for me to step away. To appreciate all of the great things Denison can offer professionally, and at the same time I think I came to realize that I was probably a better fit working with college student athletes rather than high school student athletes."

Caravana's second stint with the Big Red has arguably been more successful than the first. Denison has reached the double-digit win plateau every season since his return and has won a tournament game in three of those four seasons. Of those recent years, the 2012 season was the most successful.

"You look at that team and that's probably one of the better recruiting classes to come through Denison," said Smith of the 2012 seniors.

That senior class produced three All-Americans in Cory Couture, Nick Farrell, and Davis Lukens. Illustrating what has become a truly national game, they came from San Diego, New York City, and Atlanta, respectively. The Big Red also boasted seven First-Team All-NCAC award winners, including its Player of the Year in Couture.

Denison's 13-1 regular season record that year included a nine-game win streak to open the season, and the team finished ranked eighth in the country. In the NCAA's first round, though, DU's season almost came to an unexpected and early close. It wasn't until the second overtime when Couture netted the game winning goal over Adrian College. The Big Red advanced to the second round, where it met third-ranked Lynchburg. Significant offensive performances from sophomore Eddie Vita and senior Alex Hardt, each of whom scored a hat trick, led to a 10-5 victory over the Hornets.

In the quarterfinals, the Big Red was beaten by fifth-ranked Stevenson, the only team that had beaten them in the regular season. But 2012 was another landmark year. The 15 wins matched a program record set by the first group to make the national tournament, Thomsen's 1982 team.

Less than a year later, Caravana reached another milestone. With a win over Centre College in 2013, he earned his 200th career victory, joining Thomsen as the only other Big Red coach to achieve that mark.

Milestones like 200 wins, as well as successful seasons like 1999, 2001 and 2012, have helped stamp Caravana's stature as one of the most important coaches in Big Red lacrosse history. He has helped foster the tradition of excellence that has connected 60 years of Denison lacrosse players. At the completion of the 2013 season, Caravana's record is a sparkling 208-81 (.715), includes eight NCAC titles and, since his return to Granville in 2009, four of five years ranked in the Top 10 of Division III during the season. In the process, Caravana quickly embraced the national scope of the game. He recruits coast to coast. As a result, the roster in the past two years has featured players from 20 states plus Washington, DC and Ontario, Canada.

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2013-08-19



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