Scots Unable to Climb Back Against Denison in NCAC Tournament Championship

Katie Shideler
Katie Shideler
Rose Taylor
Rose Taylor

The College of Wooster women's lacrosse team, in search of its second upset of the week, played top-seeded Denison University within a goal over the final 44:56 of the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship game, but the Fighting Scots were never able to overcome an opening 6-0 run by the Big Red on Saturday afternoon at Piper Stadium in Granville, Ohio.

Wooster (12-4), which was making its 12th appearance in the NCAC Tournament championship, was within four goals at two junctures in the second half. First, the Scots upped the tempo at final stanza's onset with a goal by senior Helena Enders at the 27:23 mark making it a 10-5 game. Classmate Michaela Lawrence scooped up a groundball on a Denison (16-2) turnover a short while later, and first-year Alexa Mellis found the back of the net with 25:35 remaining to put Wooster within striking distance at 10-6.

Denison's Halle Walsh padded the lead back to five 20 ticks later, and Kiely Noonan upped the advantage to six with 23:01 to go.

Wooster survived a scare with 20:22 remaining, as a Denison shot that would've made it a seven-goal game clanged off the post. Junior Natalie Souleyrette scooped up the groundball on the rebound, and the Scots were off to the races in transition. At the other end of the field, junior Laura Papp drew a foul inside the eight-meter, and she scored on the free-position try with just over 20 minutes remaining to cut the Scots' deficit back down to five.

Junior Megan Healy won the ensuing draw control to keep possession with the Scots, and Mellis capitalized on the momentum swing with her team-leading 37th goal of the season trimming Denison's lead to 12-8 with 19:46 remaining.

That's as close as Wooster came in the scoring column, as Denison went on a 4-0 run before Papp buried her second free-position goal of the game, and junior Emma Lawrence snuck her 35th goal of the season past Denison 'keeper Hannah Magarian at the 4:55 mark to make it a six-goal game at 16-10.

In the first half, Denison kept Wooster off the board until just past the midpoint of the period when Emma Lawrence scored on a free-position shot. First-year Katie Harvey and Mellis pulled the Scots within four at 7-3, as did Enders at 8-4 with 6:25 to go before halftime.

Papp, who was one of four Scots to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, led the way offensively with six points on two goals and four assists. Enders, Mellis, and Emma Lawrence joined Papp with multiple goals in the contest.

In goal, first-year all-tournament team honoree Katie Shideler matched her season-high with 14 saves, and the Scots' rookie was credited with four groundballs, as was fellow all-tournament team honoree Rose Taylor. Taylor, a junior, logged three of the Scots' nine caused turnovers.

First-year Madison Bescak rounded out the Scots on the all-tournament team.

Denison's Leah Israel was named the tournament's MVP, and she had the stat line to back it up in the championship game with eight groundballs, seven draw controls, four caused turnovers, three goals, and an assist.