Denison Wins Fifth-Straight NCAC Tournament Title

Denison Wins Fifth-Straight NCAC Tournament Title

Top-seeded Denison (15-2) scored the first six goals of the game and never looked back en route to posting a 17-10 victory over third-seeded Wooster (12-4) in the championship of the 2018 NCAC Women’s Lacrosse Tournament to give the Big Red their fifth-straight tournament title and league-leading 13th all-time.

Denison junior attack Maddy Heher (Morristown, NJ/Morristown) got the scoring started early with a goal at the 28:55 mark, assisted by senior Claudia Rafi (Mason, OH/Ursuline Academy). Freshman Liza Farnham (Barrington, RI/Moses Brown) closed out the early six-goal scoring barrage after finding the back of the net on an unassisted goal with 17:24 remaining in the half.  Wooster responded scoring three of the next four goals as Emma Lawrence (Wilbraham, MA/Williston-Northhampton), Katie Harvey (Ellicott City, MD/St. Timothy's School) and Alexa Mellis (Wexford, PA/Pine-Richland) all got on the board for the Fighting Scots. Leading by four, Denison closed the half scoring three of the final four goals, two from senior Leah Israel (Bloomfield, MI/Cranbrook Kingswood) to take a 10-4 lead at the break.

Wooster opened the second half on a 4-2 run, capped off by Mellis’ third of the game to bring the Fighting Scots within four goals, 12-8, with 19:46 left in the game. The Big Red answered with a run of four-straight goals, two from sophomore Kiely Noonan (Wellesley, MA/Wellesley) to stretch Denison’s lead to eight with just 6:35 remaining. The Fighting Scots did outscore DU, 2-1, in the final five minutes but it wasn’t enough as the Big Red Posted a seven-goal victory to advance to the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Tournament for the fifth year in a row and the seventh time in the last eight year.

Denison was outstanding on the afternoon in draw controls, holding a 23-6 edge over Wooster, led by junior defender Jane Goodspeed (East Grand Rapids, MI/East) with 11. Noonan led the Big Red with six points, including a game-high five goals, while Heher and Rafi finished with four points each on two goals and two assists. Wooster junior Laura Papp (Ada, MI/Forest Hills Northern) led the Fighting Scots with six points on two goals and four assists.

Wooster freshman Katie Shideler (Gibsonia, PA/North Allegheny) finished the game with 14 saves in the cage, while senior Becca Jones (Wolfeboro, NH/Brewster Academy) and junior Hannah Magarian (Minneapolis, MN/Blake) combined to make four saves in net for Denison.

Following the completion of the game, Denison’s Israel was named the tournament MVP after she finished the two-game stretch 15 draw controls, nine ground balls, six goals, four caused turnovers and one assist. PHOTOS

2018 NCAC Women’s Lacrosse All Tournament Team 

Brie Freemon, ALL
Shelby Piper, ALL
Hayley Drapkin, OBE
Natalie Rauchle, OBE
Laura Papp, WOO
Madison Bescak, WOO
Rose Taylor, WOO
Katie Shideler, WOO
Claudia Rafi, DEN
Jane Goodspeed, DEN
Kiely Noonan, DEN
Grace Gavula, DEN

Tournament MVP: Leah Israel, DEN

Semifinals: Wednesday, May 2nd
Championship: Saturday, May 5th

#1 Denison 24, #4 Allegheny 8 {Box}

Denison 17, Wooster 10 {Box

#3 Wooster 14, #2 Oberlin 11 {Box}

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(Semifinal Recaps - 5/2/18)

In the semifinal round of the 2018 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament on Wednesday afternoon, top-seeded Denison (15-2) cruised to a 24-8 victory against fourth-seeded Allegheny (9-8), while third-seeded Wooster (12-3) upset second-seeded Oberlin (10-6) by a 14-11 margin in Oberlin, setting up a matchup between the Big Reed and the Fighting Scots in Saturday's championship game at 1:00 p.m. in Granville.

Denison set a new single-season record for goals scored as they put 24 on the board en route to 24-8 win over Allegheny from Piper Stadium in Granville, Ohio. The Big Red will now advance to the championship game for the fifth year in a row where they have won four consecutive tournament titles.

The Gators and the Big Red played a fairly even first half with Denison holding a 19-15 edge in shots.  However the Big Red scored 13 goals on their 19 shots attempts compared to a 6-for-15 showing for the Gators.

In the second half, Denison overwhelmed Allegheny as they outscored the Gators 11-2 while taking a 10-goal lead with 24 minutes left in the contest on its way to a 16-goal victory.

Denison sophomore Kiely Noonan (Wellesley, MA/Wellesley) and senior Claudia Rafi (Mason, OH/Ursuline Academy) led the Big Red with seven points apiece.  Rafi scored five goals and had two assists while Noonan posted four goals and three helpers. Allegheny senior Shelby Piper (Littleton, CO/Chatfield) ended her career with four points on three goals and an assist to lead the Gators.

Denison outshot Allegheny, 35-23 and held an edge on ground balls, 26-21. The Big Red also held an advantage in draw controls, 20-13. In goal, Denison senior Becca Jones (Wolfeboro, NH/Brewster Academy) and junior Hannah Magarian (Minneapolis, MN/Blake) combined to make eight saves, while sophomore Steph Shakespeare (Pittsburgh, PA/Peters Township) registered five total saves between the pipes for Allegheny.

With the win, Denison advances to the NCAC Tournament Championship on Saturday, May 5 at 1 p.m. where they will face Wooster.

In a game that the Fighting Scots never trailed, Wooster went on the road to defeat Oberlin, 14-11 at the Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex in Ohio. With the win, Wooster advances to the NCAC Tournament Championship for the first time since 2013 where they will vie for the program's seventh title and first since 2010.

With both sides scoreless through the opening eight minutes, Wooster struck first at the 21:29 mark. Freshman Ashley Boersma (Ada, MI/Forest Hills Northern) converted on a free-position opportunity with her first of three goals on the day as part of a career-high performance. The Fighting Scots opened up a 4-1 lead after Boersma registered her second goal of the game with 12:27 left in the first half. The Yeowomen would go on to post a 4-1 run to level things at five-all, but the Scots picked up two key goals in the final 2:11 to take the halftime momentum and a 7-5 lead.

Despite being a man down early in the second half, Wooster ran out to a 4-0 run as part of an overall 6-0 streak reaching back to the end of the first to push the lead to six. From there, both sides exchanged a pair of tallies as Wooster led 13-7 with 12:19 remaining.

Oberlin senior Natalie Rauchle (Edina, MN/Edina) scored her game-high fourth goal with 9:46 remaining before Boersma capped off Wooster's scoring with her third of the game on a man-up opportunity with 4:40 left. The Yeowomen went on to score three times in the final 90 seconds but the Fighting Scots would hold on for the 14-11 victory.

Along with Boersma's season-high three goals, juniors Megan Healy (Ottawa Hills, OH/Ottawa Hills) and Laura Papp (Ada, MI/Forest Hills Northern) ended with a hat trick each while Healy recorded a team-high six draw controls. Rauchle not only led Oberlin with four goals but set the NCAC single-season scoring record in the process to end the season with 81 goals.

In goal, freshman Katie Shideler (Gibsonia, PA/North Allegheny) made nine saves and gathered three groundballs for Wooster, while junior Siena Marcelle (Slingerlands, NY/Bethlehem Central) collected nine saves in net for Oberlin. 

Wooster enters Saturday's match 6-5 all-time in conference championship games. Wooster is 5-8 all-time versus the Big Red in conference tournament action, with Denison most recently eliminating the Scots in the 2016 semifinals.

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After winning its league-leading 20th NCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship with its third-straight perfect 8-0 regular season record against league foes, Denison has earned the top seed in the 2018 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament, which begins with semifinal matchups on Wednesday (5/2) night.

The Big Red (8-0) now entertain fourth-seeded Allegheny (5-3) on Wednesday night, while second-seeded Oberlin (6-2) welcomes third-seeded Wooster (6-2) in the other semifinal matchup on the same day. Denison topped Allegheny, 21-9, in the regular season meeting between the two squads on March 31st, while Oberlin notched a 19-7 victory over Wooster on April 7th.

The championship game will be held on Saturday (5/5) afternoon at 1:00 PM at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the semifinal round. The tournament winner receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Div. III Tournament.

Denison leads the way with 20 NCAC titles all-time (1985-1994, '96, 1999-'01, '06, '11-'12, '16-'18), followed by Wooster with six (2002-04, '07, '09, '10), Oberlin with three (1995, '97-'98), Ohio Wesleyan ('05, '08) and Wittenberg ('14-'15) with two each and Kenyon (2013) and with one.

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