Since the heartbreaking loss on the road against Roanoke, the Denison Big Red men’s lacrosse team has responded with 9 straight wins, 7 of which Denison scored 10 or more goals.
Denison head coach Michael Caravana is pleased with how his team has responded since the Roanoke loss.
“It was a tough a game for us to play. We had one player ill at the time and another one of our top players had not played due to injury. At that point in the season we had to figure out our pieces,” Caravana said. “Certainly over the last couple weeks, we have the pieces and now the goal is to play lacrosse at a high level.
He did acknowledge how well the offense has played but also gave credit to the defense, which has helped the offense immensely with all the injuries and illnesses that have plagued the Big Red this season.
the offense immensely with all the injuries and illnesses that have plagued the Big Red this season.
“I think we have the capability to be very good. Sometimes we don’t shoot as well as I would like for us to shoot it. But some of that, we have to give credit to the goalies we play. When we shoot the ball intelligently and handle the ball cleanly we give ourselves a chance to be a very good offensive team.”
Caravana continued, “But I think the strength of our team is how well we have played on defense over the course of the season. That’s been key to allow our offense to mesh more, as we have dealt with injuries this season.”
The Big Red entered last week with two conference opponents in Hiram and Oberlin and a 2-0 record in conference play so far with wins against DePauw and Wittenberg.
On Tuesday April 9th, the Denison Big Red hosted the Hiram Terriers, a relatively young lacrosse program.
“Hiram is a young program, only in their third year as a lacrosse team. We just wanted to go out there, play good lacrosse, and hopefully get the lead early so we could play some of our second and third guys.”
In the first nine minutes of the first quarter the Hiram Terriers were tied with the Denison Big Red 2-2. However, this tied game wouldn’t last any longer as the Big Red offense exploded for 5 unanswered goals to closeout of the first quarter.
The Terriers only scored 2twomore goals as the Big Red scored 21 additional goals to win the game 28-4.
Liam Rooney ‘17 led the Big Red with 8 points (3 goals and 5 assists) followed by Nick Bortolani ’16 with 5 points (3 goals and 2 assists). Jack Ruf ’17 also scored a hat trick followed by Blair Farinholt ’16, Riley Johnson ‘19, Brooks Davey ’19, James Meager ’16, and Josh Happ ’18 who all scored twice.
Denison outshot Hiram 69-11 and won the groundball battle 56-10. Denison also dominated faceoffs, winning 31 of 36 as Eric Baumgardner ‘16 was 11-12 and Jack Waters ‘19 was 17-21.
An opportunistic offense and a stout defense led to the Denison Big Red to a 28-4 blow out win against the Hiram Terriers, which put Denison 9-1 for the season and 3-0 in conference play.
On Saturday April 9, the Denison Big Red visited the Oberlin Yeomen in another conference match-up.
“Oberlin is always a tough team for us to play, especially up there. They always play with good spirit and heart,” said Caravana. “ We have to go up there and play good lacrosse. We’re certainly the favorite in this game, but we need to get better. Better for us is a level of consistency.”
Meager scored the opening goal assisted by Farinholt. The Big Red defense was able to shut-out the Yeomen in the first quarter with a 1-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Yeomen and the Big Red both scored four goals. At halftime the Denison Big Red led 5-4.
Farinholt opened the second half with an unassisted goal at the 12-minute mark of the third quarter. About four and half minutes later, Oberlin responded with a goal to put them within one goal of the Big Red who led 6-5 halfway through the third quarter.
Bortolani found Donohue ‘17 for his third goal of the game to give the Big Red a 7-5 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Oberlin Yeomen made the first move by first scoring a goal within the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter to put themselves within 1 goal of the Big Red. Two minutes later Farinholt scored an unassisted goal to put the Big Red up 8-6.
Four minutes later, Farinholt found James Meager who scored the ninth goal for the Big Red.
The last six minutes of the game were key for the Big Red as the team scored two more goals by Brian Miller ’16 and Jamie McCahan’17.
The Oberlin Yeomen fought back throughout the entire game but the Denison Big Red were able to hold them off by outscoring the opposition in three of the four quarters and some key saves by goalie Chris Thomas ’16.
The win against Oberlin puts the Denison Big Red at 10-1 for the season and 4-0 in conference play. The Big Red will hope to continue their nine game win-streak when they visit the Wooster Fighting Scots on Wednesday April 14.