Plethora of Big Defensive Plays Keeps Wooster in Hunt During NCAC Tournament Championship Loss

Harriet Sudduth
Harriet Sudduth

GRANVILLE, Ohio – The College of Wooster's remarkable season came to an end in the championship game of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, as Denison University topped the Fighting Scots 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.

Denison's (18-2) first goal came in the eighth minute off the Big Red's first corner of the game. Abby Scully chipped the ball over the Scots' (15-6) defense to AC Veith, who beat a Scots' back to the ball and knocked it into the cage.

Denison's relentless pressure resulted in three big chances sandwiched in between its two goals, yet Wooster was able to step in defensively each time. Not long after the Big Red's initial score, Charlotte Godfrey's breakaway chance misfired when she couldn't gather herself just inside the circle, and Wooster sophomore Katie Shideler knocked the ball away.

In the 13th minute, junior Emma Hambright's redirect on a cross prevented what was shaping up to be a potential wide-open look for Denison on the backside of the cage. That enabled Wooster's defense to regroup, and Shideler scrambled back into good position in time to make a key save shortly after.

Godfrey earned redemption in the 18th minute by tipping in a cross from Kat Swan that upped the Big Red's lead to 2-0. The Big Red's sophomore nearly tacked on her second goal with just under 14 minutes to go before halftime, but sailed the shot attempt just wide of the cage.

Right after, Wooster regrouped in transition and was on the verge of having its best offensive chance to that point. However, Denison's Caroline Little thwarted the transition by poking the ball away from Wooster senior Maeven Barry at the top of the circle.

Wooster's defense made a strong stand in the 46th minute, starting with a big save by Shidler. Denison looked to reset offensively, but junior Harriet Sudduth knocked away an insert pass from outside the circle. Shortly after, Shideler sent aside a high insert from outside the circle that was on cage with multiple Big Red forwards lurking for a deflection of their own.

The Scots started to find rhythm offensively in the final 22-plus minutes of the game, and Wooster's persistence was rewarded with a corner with just under 16 minutes remaining. Denison clamped down and didn't allow a shot attempt, and then Godfrey quickly had the Big Red in prime position down the field in transition only to have her shot saved by Shideler.

Looking to capitalize in the 60th minute, Wooster had an unfortunate break when a shot that would've pulled the Scots within one hit senior Erika Womack on its way into the cage and was subsequently waved off.

Denison finished with an 18-1 edge in shots and logged five more penalty corners than Wooster.

Shideler logged 10 saves in cage, and was joined on the all-tournament team by senior Rose Taylor and Womack.