GRANVILLE, Ohio— No. 4 Denison outscored No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan 6-0 in the third quarter. That allowed the Big Red to double up the Battling Bishops, 16-8 to capture the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. Winners of 15-straight games Denison receives the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament with first round games scheduled for May 9.
Ohio Wesleyan took a 3-1 lead early in the second quarter after Max Tennant's goal. The Big Red responded with a goal from Alex Paulus. After a faceoff win for the Big Red, Teddy Sawyer gathered the ground ball in Battling Bishop territory. He noticed that the Ohio Wesleyan goalie was out of position on a 10-man ride and he let loose a shot that found the cage from 50 yards away. The goal was the sixth of his career and the second time this season he has scored from beyond midfield.
After Sawyer's goal, Denison scored three more times to take a 5-4 lead into the intermission.
When play resumed, DU never missed a beat. Donohue scored his third goal of the afternoon off a feed from Rooney which moved him into first place on Denison's single-season points list with 98.
With 8:33 left in the third Denison was flagged for a penalty. Ohio Wesleyan's Matt Maier had his shot blocked and Teddy Sawyer quickly got Denison out on the fast break. Hannibal George cleared it and hit fellow short-stick midfielder Josh Happ for the shorthanded goal to make it a 9-4 lead for DU.
Minutes later, a crosscheck on OWU's Jordan Carlson allowed Denison's top-ranked man-up unit to go to work. Butler scored at the doorstep. On the ensuing faceoff, a costly two-minute non-releasable penalty on the Battling Bishops kept Denison's man-up unit on the field.
Entering the fourth, Denison held a 12-4 lead. They scored four more times in the fourth to set the final at 16-8.
Faceoff specialist Henry DeCamp and his wings were game-changers at the X. Denison won 19-of-27 faceoffs and at one point in the third quarter, DU was 16-for-19. DeCamp was 17-for-23 and led the team with eight ground balls.
That translated to a Denison dominating possession throughout the second and third quarters. For the game, the Big Red outshot Ohio Wesleyan 48-29 and won the ground ball battle 41-19.
Donohue paced the offense with five goals, one assist and five ground balls. His 52 goals in 2017 tied Brady Burton for third-place for most in a single-season at DU. The record is 63 set by Andy John in 1984.
Rooney posted four points (2g, 2a) and Paulus tallied one goal and one assist. Sawyer finished with three caused turnovers and six ground balls.
In the postgame awards ceremony, Sawyer, Rooney, Donohue and Ben Duhoski were named to the All-Tournament team. DeCamp was named the NCAC Tournament MVP after winning 34-of-43 faceoffs with 17 ground balls in the victories over Wooster and OWU.
Stephen Paras moved to 15-0 in goal after posting 10 saves. Andrew Halmi finished with 14 saves for OWU.
The NCAA Division III Tournament selections will be announced on Sunday, May 7. The first round will be Wednesday, May 9.