May 8, 2014

Big Red to host Aurora in 2nd Rd.

Following Wednesday's 19-4 victory over Centre in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament, Denison advances to the second round where they will host Aurora University at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.

Denison improved to 18-0 after jumping out to a 12-0 lead on the Colonel's in Wednesday's first round.  Aurora advanced to the round of 16 for the second consecutive season after defeating Adrian, 22-13 on Wednesday in Adrian, Mich.  After opening the season with three-straight losses to Albion, Ohio Wesleyan, and Wittenberg, the Spartans have rattled off 16-straight wins.

In the win over Centre, Denison won 21-of-26 faceoffs and outshot the Colonels 50-20.  Eddie Vita posted 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists), while Teddy Powell, Blair Farinholt, and Luke Walsh all scored three goals apiece.  DU faceoff specialist Eric Baumgardner was 17-for-19, with a game-high 11 ground balls.  Baumgardner boasts a .678 win percentage on draws this season.

This is the first-ever meeting in lacrosse between Denison and Aurora.  The Spartans' first season of varsity lacrosse was 2011 and since then they have enjoyed great success, posting an overall record of 56-17.  Last season they defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 13-9 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before suffering a 14-8 loss to Cortland St. in the second round.

Aurora is coached by former Salisbury All-American and 2008 Division III Player of the Year, Kylor Berkman.  Berkman has been the only head coach in the short history of the Aurora program.  They are led by junior middie Max Obriecht.  The 2013 All-American is a do-it-all player for the Spartans.  He currently leads the team in goals (58), assists (36), all while taking the team's faceoffs.  He is one of the best draw men in the country, boasting a .735 win percentage to go along with his 213 ground balls.  Obriecht is ranked second in Division III in faceoff percentage and is fifth in ground balls per game.

This is also a meeting of two of the nation's top offenses and defense.  DU boasts the No. 5 ranked offense while Aurora checks in seventh.  Defensively, Denison is ranked second, limiting the opposition to just over 5 goals a game.  Aurora is ranked third at 5.68 goals allowed per game.

For Denison, Saturday's game will mark the program's 33rd NCAA Tournament game.  The Big Red have advanced to the second round, six times out of the last nine seasons and are 2-3 in those previous five contests.  In 2012, Denison's last second round appearance, the Big Red upset No. 3 Lynchburg on the road, 10-5.

Tickets will be sold on the day of the game at the entrances to Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.  Prices are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and $1 for children 12 and under.  The first 50 Denison students, faculty, or staff members with a valid ID will be admitted free of charge.