No. 4 Denison Runs by Bishops to Claim NCAC Crown

With a 14-5 victory over Ohio Wesleyan in the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference championship, the 17-0 Denison Big Red advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 21st time in program history.

No. 4 Denison came out of the gates sharp, scoring three goals in the opening quarter. The defense also prevented the Battling Bishops from heating up. Clark Bullington was making his third career start in goal and his play early on gave the offense time to build its lead and momentum. Bullington would post four critical saves over a four minute span in the middle of the opening quarter before either team had put a point on the scoreboard.

After back-to-back saves from Bullington, DU would clear and Eddie Vita put Denison on top with his 32nd goal of the season.

DU would jump out to a 3-0 lead after goals from Benjie Colberg, and a second by Vita. With just one-tenth of a second left on the clock at the end of the first quarter, Ohio Wesleyan's John Umbach beat the buzzer to make the score 3-1 heading to the second.

At the 11:18 mark of the second period, Vita would notch his fifth hat trick of the season. Ohio Wesleyan's Tommy Minkler would answer, but with just over two minutes to play in the first half, Teddy Powell would connect with first-year phenom Luke Walsh for his first of five goals on the day. Walsh has scored 44 goals in his rookie campaign while shooting at a 46 percent clip.

The Big Red would take a 6-2 lead into the second half and three Denison goals in the first eight minutes of play would make a Bishop comeback more challenging than ever. OWU would put a goal on the board with 2:05 to play in third quarter, but Denison still held a 10-3 lead at that point.

A six-goal deficit would be as close as the visitors would get as Denison would score four more in the fourth to complete the 14-5 win.

Walsh led all players with five goals and he did so by taking just five shots. Vita scored three goals and had three assists to go along with three ground balls. Powell posted two goals and two assists while Blair Farinholt ended with a pair of goals. Chapin Speidel and Colberg rounded out Denison's goal scorers.

Austin Campbell posted three caused turnovers and five ground balls while Eric Baumgardner won 13 of 22 draws. Baumgardner led Denison with six ground balls. In goal, Bullington posted a career-high 13 saves in 60 minutes. His counterpart, Ryan McMahon, finished with 11 saves in 60 minutes.

Ohio Wesleyan got two goals apiece from Umbach and Minkler. Sam Gioseffi was 9 for 21 facing off.

The Battling Bishops outshot Denison 35-34 but Denison held a convincing lead in ground balls, 35-21 and committed 14 turnovers compared to 17 miscues by OWU.

Ohio Wesleyan's season comes to an end with a record of 12-4. At 17-0, Denison continues to build upon its record-setting 2014 season. The Big Red will not play until the NCAA Tournament first round on Wednesday, May 7 at a site and time to be determined. The NCAA will announce its selections for the 2014 tournament on Sunday, May 4.

2014-04-26



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