Bullets Down Denison to March Into Elite Eight
Lexi Kelly (photo by David Sinclair)
Gettysburg 17, Denison 7
Gettysburg College and Middlebury College cruised to easy victories in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Tournament to set up an epic showdown in Sunday’s regional finale at Clark Field.
Gettysburg (19-1) ended Denison University’s (15-5) season 17-7 in Saturday’s opening game as senior Hannah Church and sophomore Katie Blumenthal each posted four goals. Middlebury (14-4) jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Montclair State University (14-6) and finished with a 12-5 victory.
The Bullets came out firing against the Big Red with three goals in the first 1:31. Blumenthal tossed in the first two and freshman Bridget Kenny posted the third following a feed from junior Lindsey Robinson.
Denison jumped on the board with back-to-back tallies by Olivia Shiland and Alex Thurner to pull to 3-2 at 24:34. The surge didn’t hold for the Big Red, however, as Gettysburg ran off a six-goal run, kicked off with back-to-back goals by Robinson and Blumenthal just 13 seconds apart. Sophomore Bailey Beardsley went for back-to-back scores before Blumenthal tallied her fourth goal of the first half to push the lead to 9-2 with 7:33 on the clock.
Denison held on, netting four of the next five goals with Molly Chapman cutting the lead to 10-6 with 19:20 to play in the game. That would be the closest the Big Red would get as Kenny, Church, and sophomore Loren Pruitt each scored a pair of goals over the final 19:07. Freshman Mandy Buell polished off the 10-goal victory with her only tally at 2:26.
Gettysburg led in shots (35-16) and ground balls (21-14), while Denison held a slight edge in draw controls at 13-12.
Church’s four-goal day pushed her past Katie Ceglarski ’08 for fourth on Gettysburg’s all-time points list with 268. Blumenthal was one off her personal best for goals set against Cabrini College in the opening round of this year’s tournament. Robinson finished with one goal and four assists, while Kenny recorded three goals and one helper.
Junior Hayward Sawers and senior Lexi Kelly led the defensive effort with two caused turnovers. Sawers also posted one assist, four ground balls, and three draw controls, while Kelly notched three ground balls. Senior Maddie Coleman posted five saves in Gettysburg’s goal.
Chapman and Thurner each tallied two goals for Denison. Carly Tshantz turned in one assist and four draw controls and Hannah Minifie stopped four shots in the cage.
Gettysburg and Middlebury will meet in the regional championship on Sunday, May 13, at 1 p.m. on Clark Field. The winner will advance to next weekend’s national semifinals hosted by Montclair State. The Panthers hold a 5-1 edge in the series against the Bullets, including a 10-8 victory at Clark Field in 2010. The two teams have met once in the NCAA Tournament – a 14-5 Middlebury victory in 2008. Gettysburg is the defending national champion, while Middlebury has claimed the second-most national titles in Division III with five.