May 6, 2009

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'Noke Next: Denison Dispatches Ohio Wesleyan

from press reports

GRANVILLE, Ohio - Another fast start for the Denison offense combined with some stout play on defense resulted in a convincing 12-2 victory over Ohio Wesleyan University on Wednesday in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship Tournament.

Not unlike their blazing start on April 5 that saw the Big Red take a 10-1 lead after one quarter of play, DU came out of the gates strong late in the opening quarter with three goals in a span of just two minutes to take a 6-1 advantage into the second period. 

The first three goals of the game came off the crosse of junior attack Brady Burton (Dublin, Ohio/Jerome) who has pounded the Bishops with nine goals in two games this year.  Burton scored the first two goals of the game off assists from Tanner Smith (Boxford, Mass./Brooks School) with the third coming via an Emmett Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) feed in a man-up situation.

Later in the quarter, two of Denison's up-and-comers, freshmen Matt Verklin (Annapolis, Md./Severn School) and Alex Hardt (Dallas, Texas/Episcopal) scored back-to-back goals to five DU a 5-0 lead with 1:07 to play in the first. 

After a face-off win by Connor Detjen (Winnetka, Ill./Loyola), Burton found Jones for his 35th goal of the year.  Now leading 6-0 with just 45 seconds left it was nearly a perfect quarter for the Big Red until OWU's Rick Scheetz took the ensuing face-off and raced down the field to score 1 on 1 against Denison goalie Gregg Shannon (Lindenhurst, N.Y./St. Anthony's).

The scoring would taper in the second quarter as Bishop attack Karl Zimmerman's assisted goal with 1:36 before halftime would be the lone goal.  DU struggled in extra-man in the quarter, going 0 for 4, but Shannon turned in three saves in the period to keep the lead at 6-2 heading into the third quarter.

In the second half the DU defense, led by seniors Jim Minor (Washington, Pa./Trinity), Matt Edenbaum (Bethesda, Md./St. Andrews), Ted Gulyas (Medina, Ohio/Medina), did most of the talking.  Freshmen John Payne (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./U of D Jesuit) and Shannon also heeded the challenge. 

Edenbaum, Gulyas and Payne combined for 19 ground balls with Gulyas pacing the squad with eight.  Shannon would finish the game with 11 saves running his season saver percentage to .595.  He also lowered his goals against average to 6.12.

Burton would lead Denison with five goals and two assists off just nine shots.  Hardt finished with three goals and Smith added three assists.  Denison outshot Ohio Wesleyan 38-21 but were edged in face-off's 9-7.  OWU committed 14 penalties for 12 minutes and DU converted four of those extra-man opportunities.

Ohio Wesleyan entered the game as the nation's seventh-ranked scoring offense at almost 15 goals per game.  Their two-goal output against Denison was their second fewest amount of goals scored against the Big Red. The low came in a 10-1 loss in 1971.  Today's game was the 85th meeting between the two rivals and with the win, Denison has pulled even in the all-time series at 42-42-1.

With the win Denison advances to the NCAA's second round which will be played in Salem, Va. against No. 3 Roanoke on Saturday (May 9) at 1 p.m.  This will be the first time Denison has faced the Maroons since 1995.


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