GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison University will host Lynchburg College in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinals (Elite 8) on Wednesday (May 17) at 2 p.m. from Piper Stadium. The Big Red brings a 17-1 record into the game and is ranked fifth in the most recent US Lacrosse Top-20 poll. Lynchburg is 15-6 and ranked 18th in the most recent Division III poll.
For Denison, this marks their 14th appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the first time since 1997 that Denison will serve as host of a quarterfinal game. The Big Red is looking for their third Final Four appearance. The previous two semifinal appearances occurred in 2001 and 1999.
How to Watch: Fans have two excellent options. You can come to Piper Stadium in Granville for the 2 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for youth (13-21) and $2 for children (3-12). The first 50 Denison students, faculty or staff members with a valid ID will be admitted free of charge. If you can't make it to Granville, the Denison Sports Network will provide a live HD video stream, free of charge. Former Denison attackman Nick Caravana will be on play-by-play and former assistant coach Drew Sraver will provide color commentary.
Denison's Path: The Big Red received the automatic qualifier from the North Coast Athletic Conference after going 8-0 in the conference play in the regular season and winning the NCAC Tournament. They defeated Carthage in the second round, 17-9 and rolled past Illinois Wesleyan, 25-11 in the third round on Saturday night.
Lynchburg's Path: The Hornets boasted the nation's second-highest strength of schedule and based on that resume, they received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The defeated Sewanee, 14-12, in the second round and held on for a 10-8 win over York (Pa.) in the third round. Lynchburg is making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and their third trip to the quarterfinals. In 2015, the Hornets finished as the national runner-up, falling to Tufts in the championship game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
The Coaches: Denison head coach Mike Caravana is in his 24th year at Denison. He is the program's all-time leader in wins at 273-88 (.756). Since returning to Denison in 2009, Caravana has posted a record of 128-23 (.848) – 9 seasons. For the Hornets, Steve Koudelka is in his 20th season at Lynchburg. He has a career record of 249-101 (.711).
Turn it up to Eleven: Sophomore attackman Spencer Butler scored 11 goals in the win over Illinois Wesleyan. That broke Denison's single-game record of 10 goals which had been held by Chris Wolfington since 1990. It also shattered the NCAA Tournament single-game record of eight that was shared by four different individuals.
Looking for 63: Denison's single-season record for goals is 63, held by Andy John. Two current DU players could surpass that mark in the same season as Spencer Butler enters today's game with 59 goals and Will Donohue has 58.
Prolific Scoring: Denison's single-season team record for goals was 320, set in 2014. This year's team surpassed that total on Saturday night. They enter the quarterfinals with 329 goals and at 18.28 goals per game, the Big Red is the highest-scoring team remaining in the tournament.
We'll Make Them Pay: Denison boasts the nation's top-ranked man-up conversion percentage at .657. They are 44-of-67 this season. Will Donohue leads the way with 13 man-up goals. Brooks Davy is second with 12. Conversely, Lynchburg has struggled in extra-man, converting at a percentage of .343 which ranks them 65th out of 223 in D-III lacrosse.
Turning 80: Denison senior Liam Rooney notched his 80th assist of the season in the win over Illinois Wesleyan. He posted seven against the Titans and is just the fifth player in Division III lacrosse history to reach this milestone. The single-season record for assists is 92, set by Will Van Dorn of Kean in 1999.
Can't Stop This Attack: Denison's starting attack of Rooney, Donohue and Butler has scored 153 of the team's 329 goals, accounting for 47 percent of DU's total offense.
Goalie Breakdown: Denison will turn to first-year goalie Stephen Paras. He is 17-0 in 17 starts between the pipes. He has a .531 save percentage with a 6.28 GAA in 803 minutes played. For Lynchburg, CJ Santora has started all 21 games with a .578 save percentage and a 9.28 GAA. Against York, Santora finished with 19 saves. His season-high was 22 coming in a 14-11 victory over Roanoke.
FOGO Watch: Denison's faceoff specialist Henry DeCamp has a .625 win percentage in two NCAA Tournament games. He leads the squad with 18 ground balls and has scored three goals via scoop-and-score in the tournament. Lynchburg implements a two-man approach at the X. Craig Koester is 86-for-176 (.488) and Bo Delaney is 136-for-278 (.489).
Senior Stepping Up: After the injury to starting midfielder Owen Armstrong, senior Alex Paulus moved into the starting lineup against Illinois Wesleyan. He has played in 56 career games, scoring 49 goals and 9 assists.
Get Shorty: Short-stick defensive midfielders Hannibal George and Josh Happ have been one of the more underrated reasons behind Denison's stout defense in 2017. The duo has combined for four caused turnovers and 10 ground balls in the tournament, thus far.
Ultimate Goal: A win by either team will get them one step closer to the ultimate goal of a Division III national championship. This year's national title game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Sunday, May 28. The winner of the Denison-Lynchburg game will play the winner of Salisbury-Cabrini in the NCAA Semifinals on Sunday, May 21. The location for the semifinal will be played at the home field of the highest remaining seed.