Story Contributions Courtesy of the Denison & Ohio Wesleyan Sports Information Departments
The rubber match between Denison (16-3) and Ohio Wesleyan (16-3) is set for the third round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament after both squads cruised to opening round victories on May 9th. The Denison offense put 19 goals on the scoreboard between the second and third quarter allowing them to run away from Illinois Wesleyan for the 25-9 win, while Ohio Wesleyan outscored Aurora, 8-0, during the middle two quarters on the way to a 13-5 win at Selby Stadium.
Both squads now advance to the third round where they will clash on Saturday, May 12th. The site and start time for the game will be determined by the NCAA on Thursday.
The Big Red and Bishops have met twice already this season, with both squads picking up victories on the road. OWU won the regular season meeting on April 15th by a 13-8 margin in Granville, before Denison picked up a 14-7 win over the Bishops on April 28th in the NCAC Tournament title game.
Saturday's game versus Ohio Wesleyan will mark the 10th time that the two programs have met in the NCAA postseason and the first time it has occurred since 2011. It will also mark the 102nd time that the two programs have met on the lacrosse field in history.
North Coast Athletic Conference tournament champion Denison (15-3) earned its third-straight bid into the 36-team NCAA Div. III Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, while Ohio Wesleyan (15-3) earned a berth into the tournament field with one of the nine at-large bids. 2018 marks the first time since 2012 that the North Coast will be represented by multiple teams in the national field.
Denison will host Illinois Wesleyan on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Piper Stadium. This will be Denison’s 40th NCAA Tournament game since 1982.
Illinois Wesleyan is 16-3 on the year and winners of the CCIW Tournament. This is the second-straight year that Denison and the Titans will meet in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Big Red prevailed 25-11 in the third round. The winner of the Denison-Illinois Wesleyan matchup will face the winner of Ohio Wesleyan-Aurora in the third round.
Ohio Wesleyan will face Aurora in a second-round game at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday at Selby Stadium. OWU and Aurora have met once in the NCAA Division III playoffs, that coming in the first round of the 2013 tournament, with Aurora taking a 13-9 decision.
Ohio Wesleyan will be making its 29th Division III playoff appearance, which ranks second among Division III institutions. The Battling Bishops have advanced to the NCAA Division III championship game four times and have advanced to the national semifinals 11 times.
Aurora (19-1) won the Midwest Lacrosse Conference tournament with a 16-3 verdict over Concordia (WI) in the tournament championship game. The Spartans won the conference title with a 9-0 record.
Except for the championship game, all games will be played on the campus of one of the competing teams. First round competition will be held on Tuesday, May 8 with the winners advancing to play in the second round on Wednesday, May 9. The 16 remaining teams will play in the third round on Saturday, May 12. The quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday, May 16 and the semifinals will be played Sunday, May 20.
This year’s finalists will advance to Foxborough, Mass. for the championship game at Gillette Stadium, which will be played at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, May 27, and shown via web stream on NCAA.com. That game will be followed by the Division II championship at 4 p.m. Eastern time, which can also be seen on NCAA.com. The Division I semifinals and championship are Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28 at the same site.