In the first-ever North Coast Athletic Conference men's lacrosse tournament, the top-seeded Denison Big Red will play for the tournament championship after an 8-2 victory over fourth-seeded Kenyon College on Tuesday night in Granville.
The victory sets the stage for a rematch with rival, and No. 2 seed, Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday (April 27) at 7:30 p.m. The game will be played at Deeds Field-Piper Stadium on Denison's campus.
On April 10 in Gambier, the Big Red gutted out a 6-3 victory over the Lords despite outshooting Kenyon 42-24. Tonight's game had a similar tone, especially early on. The Lords took a 1-0 lead into the second quarter thanks to a buzzer-beating goal by Kenyon's Fritz Waine.
Denison outshot Kenyon 13-5 in the opening quarter. DU actually came up dry on its first 16 shot attempts. Finally, on shot number 17, junior attack Eddie Vita tied the game off an assist by Connor Carroll. Thirty seconds later Vita would find Teddy Powell for the quick-strike goal, putting Denison on top, 2-1 with 11:17 to play in the second quarter.
With 9:09 to play in the quarter, Waine would tie the game with a rip to the upper left corner of the cage. Denison would take possession and at the 6:39 mark, freshman Blair Farinholt scored his 12th goal of the season giving DU a lead they would not relinquish again.
Farinholt would score again, this time off a pass from classmate Justin DeMarchi with 26 seconds to go in the half, sending Denison into the intermission with a 4-2 lead.
In the second half, the Big Red would hold the Lords scoreless. Meanwhile DU would add four more goals thanks to Will Koontz (twice), Chapin Speidel and long stick midfielder Austin Campbell, setting the final at 8-2.
Vita would lead all scorers with four points (1 goal; 3 assists) while DeMarchi (2 assists), Farinholt (2 goals), Koontz (2 goals) all tallied two points apiece.
The defense caused 12 of Kenyon's 19 turnovers. Drew Newman led the way with four caused turnovers while Tommy Harrison added two caused turnovers and four ground balls. Campbell also contributed four ground balls while first-year goalie Chris Thomas netted four saves.
Face-off specialist and current NCAC Player of the Week, Chip Phillips, was 9-for-13 facing-off. He also notched three ground balls.
Kenyon was led by freshman goalie Patrick Shevelson who posted 18 saves while playing all 60 minutes.
Denison held a 41-19 advantage in shot attempts. They also won the ground ball battle, 28-18. There were only four penalty flags thrown in the contest. Three were on the Lords and DU was 1-for-3 in extra-man situations. DU's lone man-up goal came with 3:40 to play in the fourth quarter on a DeMarchi to Koontz score.
With the win, Denison improves to 13-2 and extends its winning streak to five. Kenyon's season comes to a close at 8-8.