After sweeping through the North Coast Athletic Conference and the 2014 season with a perfect 17-0 record, Denison men's lacrosse swept the annual NCAC Postseason Awards, landing 10 players on the first and second teams while capturing all four of the conference's special awards.
Denison placed a program-high eight players on the first team while Austin Campbell repeated as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. Senior attack Eddie Vita was named the NCAC Offensive Player of the Year, and first-year attack Luke Walsh earned Newcomer of the Year honors. In addition, Mike Caravana was named the NCAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career.
Campbell is making his third appearance on the NCAC first team as a long stick midfielder. The 2013 All-American became a two-time NCAC Defensive Player of the Year by leading the league in caused turnovers (29) while ranking seventh in the conference in ground balls with 55.
In addition to Campbell, the conference-best defense was represented by senior Tommy Harrison, and junior Drew Newman on the first team. For Harrison this marks his third all-conference honor and his second, first team award. He posted 30 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers in 17 starts. Newman is making his inaugural appearance on the first team after receiving honorable mention in 2013. The junior notched 31 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers this season. Denison's starting close defense was rounded out by junior Clint Barber who was named to the All-NCAC second team. As a group, the defense has limited the opposition to just 5.2 goals per game.
Offensively, Vita is making his second-straight appearance on the first team. A threat to score and pass, Vita tallied 34 goals while leading the conference with 27 assists. He currently ranks eighth in career goals with 108 and is 12th in career points (169) at Denison. Vita and Campbell are the 11th and 12th players from Denison to earn NCAC Player of the Year accolades.
Walsh was named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year and was a first team All-NCAC pick. He is currently second in the conference in scoring with 43 goals and is tied with Vita for the league lead in points (61). Walsh is the sixth NCAC Newcomer of the Year to come from Denison, and the first since Emmett Jones took home the award in 2008.
In the midfield, senior Chapin Speidel and sophomore James Meager were named to the first team while sophomore Blair Farinholt received a second team nod. Speidel is making his second-straight appearance on the first team. He has scored 22 goals and added 17 assists and has moved up to 24th on Denison's career scoring list with 80 goals. Overall, Speidel is a three-time all-conference honoree.
Meager is making his first appearance on the league's all-star list after a brilliant rookie season. The Worthington, Ohio native scored 25 goals and chipped in 14 assists. His goal with 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter against Ohio Wesleyan proved to the game-winner that clinched the NCAC regular season Championship. Farinholt is making his second consecutive appearance on the second team after scoring 27 goals and adding 10 assists.
Denison's final first-team selection was sophomore face-off specialist Eric Baumgardner. He leads the NCAC in ground balls with 110 and is winning 66 percent of his draw attempts (202-304).
Denison was also represented well on the NCAC's All-Tournament Team. Sophomore goalie Clark Bullington was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after totaling 17 saves in wins over Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan. His 13 saves in the championship game versus Ohio Wesleyan were a career high. Rounding out the all-tournament team was Baumgardner, Campbell, Farinholt, Newman, Vita, and Walsh.
In addition to breaking the school record for wins in a season, Denison has also broke the single-season record for goals scored (285) that had been a record since 1990. The single-season record for assists, which had stood since 1985, was broken and the team's 448 points is also a new record.
This will mark Denison's 21st NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. The tournament selection is scheduled for 10 p.m. on Sunday (May 4).