BY ANUSHA SHUKLA
With a game that could end at any second, that’s when Denison Field Hockey pushes harder toward the finish line.
After a heartbreaking loss against an undefeated Washington & Jefferson team, Denison played hard against Ohio Wesleyan, in a match that went into double overtime for Denison to come back and earn a 2-1 win.
The Big Red dropped to 5-2 on the season after it’s three-game winning streak was snapped by Washington & Jefferson, when the Presidents scored off a penalty corner in the 55th minute of the game.
A dominant W&J team ended the match outshooting the Big Red 10-2 and improving to 6-0 on the season with the 1-0 victory over Denison.
While Tuesday’s match may have ended with a disappointing loss for Denison, they fared much better on Thursday, when they stole a win from Ohio Wesleyan. The victory brings the Big Red to an impressive 4-0 NCAC start, good enough for the top spot in the conference in the early stages of the season.
Although Denison looked to be the stronger team in the first half of the game, with 9-3 advantage on shots and 8-2 lead in penalty corners, it was the Ohio Wesleyan Bishops that took the lead when OWU’s Maggie Greer sent the ball to Barbara Welling who scored from right in front with 6:46 left in the first half.
A strong display of defense from the visiting side denied a shot from Maya Tumiwa ’22 in the final minutes of the first half. They stood tall against Lucy Pearsall ‘19 and Abby Scully ‘21 early on the second half as well. It was clear that this would be a hotly contested game against the Bishops for the Big Red.
Denison kept the Ohio Wesleyan defense busy late in the second half and forced the Bishops to stop three shots in ten seconds, along with three consecutive Denison penalty corners. It was only a matter of time before the relentless Big Red attack would crack the stingy Bishop defense.
The equalizer finally came in the final minutes of the game when Alyssa Bahel ‘19 shot from a drive by Charlotte Happel ‘20 to send the game into overtime.
The Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops came in full force in the first overtime outshooting the Big Red 6-1. The game almost came to an end in the final minute of the period when OWU came one-on-one with the Denison goalie Teya Adams ‘ 21, but she made a great diving save and forced another overtime.
The second overtime also saw a Denison side play defense with OWU peppering them with shots, earning a penalty corner after an Adams save but the Big Red defense stood tall with great defensive plays from Virginia Hamilton ‘19 and AC Veith ‘22.
After play went to the Denison side, the OWU defense denied a shot from Astrid Koek ‘22 but the ensuing penalty corner ended with Veith deflecting a ball from Happel to put Denison up 2-1 over Ohio Wesleyan and end the game.
“Knowing that we were able to fight through the second half and find that desire to win is going to help us with the rest of the season. This is the third time this year that we have gone into overtime and I think with each experience we are learning that we are a resilient team that will continue to work hard together to get a win,” said Caroline Little ‘20.
It was a great day for the Big Red who battled until the final whistle to hold off a strong Ohio Wesleyan squad. Despite being outshot 26-15 by the Bishops, Denison found a way to make winning plays when it mattered most to earn a huge NCAC conference win.
Little ‘20 reiterates that each practice, the team has had an emphasis on “just doing the simple things right.” She adds, “We have been saying FUNdamentals all season and doing the basics with precision. Passing stick to stick, receiving balls cleanly and continuing to build a connection with each other on and off the field.”
They will hope to continue their winning form when they travel to Springfield, Ohio to face the Wittenberg Tigers in another NCAC matchup this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.