May 9, 2009

Courtesy of Denison

Another quick start by the Big Red offense combined with a dazzling 14-save performance by Denison first-year goalie Gregg Shannon (Lindenhurst, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) led Denison to a 14-7 victory over third-ranked Roanoke in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship from Salem, Va.

Denison will advance to Wednesday's NCAA Quarterfinal round against Gettysburg College.  The Bulletts knocked off Washington & Lee, 15-10, in today's second round to set up a rematch of last year's 9-8 overtime NCAA playoff thriller that was won by Gettysburg.  This is the third appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals for Denison and their first trip to the round of eight since 2001.

In a game that pitted the nation's second-ranked defense (Denison) against Division III's top-scoring offense (Roanoke) at almost 20 goals per game, the Denison defense proved a force to be reckoned with down the tournament trail.

Shannon posted four of his biggest saves in the first quarter and Denison scored the first four goals of the contest sending a message to the home crowd.  After Emmett Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) gave DU a 4-0 lead off a rebounded shot, Roanoke countered with two goals to cut the lead to 4-2.

That would spark a 6-0 run by Denison that would last from 12:25 in the second quarter until 9:32 was left in the third quarter.  During that run, DU got extra-man goals from Dan Maude (Wayne, Pa./The Haverford School) and Cory Couture (San Diego, Calif./Coronado).  Jones netted his third of four goals on the day and senior defensive middie Ted Gulyas (Medina, Ohio/Medina) got in on the action right before halftime.

Sitting on an eight-goal lead with a majority of the second half to play was not as comfortable of a situation as you would think for Denison head coach Mike Caravana.  Roanoke began to display some of that offensive firepower when Chas Carlson scored a man-up goal with 7:20 left in the third quarter.  Burton would counter for Denison but the Maroons would mount a charge with three consecutive goals, cutting the Denison lead to five at 11-6 with 10:37 left in the game.

One minute after Matt Quinton's score woke up the Roanoke faithful, Jones delivered the biggest goal of the day when Tanner Smith (Boxford, Mass./Brooks School) found him on a nifty goal in transition to put the Big Red up six with 9:41 to go.

Over the final five minutes of play Denison controlled possession, put two more goals on the scoreboard and left Salem, Va. with their biggest victory in over eight years.

Jones and Burton both finished with four goals for Denison while Maude scored three times.  Smith tallied one goal and three assists and Nate Hall (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) ran his season assist total to 29 with two helpers.

Shannon and the DU defense frustrated Roanokes talented attack for much of the afternoon.  Shannon finished with 14 saves and defensemen Jim Minor (Washington, Pa./Trinity), Matt Edenbaum (Bethesda, Md./St. Andrews) and John Payne (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./U of D Jesuit) combined for eight ground balls and four caused turnovers.

DU and Roanoke tied with 46 shots apiece.  The Big Red were 3 for 7 in extra-man opportunities while the Maroons were 2 for 3.  Roanoke held a 14-11 advantange in face-off's and DU committed eight more turnovers than their opponent.

Roanoke was led in scoring by Carlson's three goals and two assists.  Maroon goalie Jake Dorsey had 13 saves.

Denison improves to 14-2 overall while Roanoke falls to 17-2.  A start time for Wednesday's Quarterfinal game at Gettysburg College is to be announced. Check the Denison athletics website for more Big Red men's lacrosse coverage throughout the week.