Following a 3-0 win in their final regular-season game against Ohio Wesleyan (1-15-1) last week, the Ladies’ (11-7-1) attempt to repeat as North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) champions came to an abrupt end last night as they were dealt a 1-0 loss by rival Denison University (15-3) on the Big Red’s home turf.
Despite beating the Big Red earlier in the season, the Ladies came into the match as the third seed in the tournament, behind Denison. Their NCAC rival proved more challenging the second time around.
The two teams traded possession and shots on goal equally in the first period, but Denison lucked out. On a penalty kick from the left side halfway between midfield and the Ladies’ penalty box, 37 minutes into the game, Denison defender Drew Wentze lofted a pass that teammate Meg Wozniak tapped into the net.
During the second period, goalkeeper Alyssa Poolpol ’16 made a few acrobatic saves, and on one possession defender Heather Pacheco ’18 prevented a shot attempt inside the box on a Denison breakaway.
It was a tough match, and the Ladies had few attempts to score. The Big Red effectively controlled ball possession in the second half and played some stout defense. The spread between the teams’ shots on goal was in Denison’s favor at 7-2.
Despite their title run ending, the Ladies managed quite a few feats over the course of the season. Led by Head Coach Kelly Bryan, the team made the NCAC tournament and achieved a double-digit win total for the second year in a row for the first time since the 2006 season. The defense, along with Poolpol, had 10 shutouts. Poolpol also led the NCAC in goals against average and save percentage.
Forward Maggie Smith ’17 tied for second in the conference in total goals with nine, and forward Gillian Blackwell ’18 was the NCAC Player of the Week two weeks in a row in October.