Denison takes home OT thriller
Sbrega finishes with four goals, including extra period winner
ADRIAN, Mich. -- Senior Molly Sbrega scored the lone goal in overtime as Denison punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament second round following an 11-10 victory against Adrian College.
Denison has had a flare for the dramatic all season and with 4:17 remaining in regulation, Lindsey Day gave Adrian a 10-8 lead. However, senior Carly Tschantz took a cross check in the face that gave DU an extra-man opportunity. On the ensuing free position attempt, the senior made the Bulldogs pay with a score that once again closed the gap to one.
After a costly turnover by the home team late in the contest, Denison set itself up for a potential game-tying shot. However, Finfrock robbed senior Lisa Feroli on her free-position attempt, temporarily protecting the 10-9 lead. Despite Adrian's attempts to run out the clock, Feroli forced a turnover with 12 seconds to go and started the Big Red's final push. After drawing a foul with four ticks on the clock, Adams, who took the free-position attempt, found a wide open Molly Chapman for the game-tying goal with two seconds left, forcing overtime.
Senior Olivia Shiland controlled the opening draw to give Denison the first possession of the extra session. After working the ball around the perimeter for the majority of the three-minute session, senior Alex Thurner found Sbrega for the go-ahead goal with 45 seconds left in the first three-minute period of OT. At the half way mark, the Bulldogs took control and moved the ball into the offensive zone. However, a turnover with 1:48 to go put DU in good position. Adrian was able to regain possession with 34 seconds left, but a shot by Day with 14 second remaining sailed wide of the cage.
After a strong defensive showing by both teams over the opening 8+ minutes, Adrian struck first when Rachel Johnston found Olivia Duncan at 21:36. Eleven seconds later, Chapman took a feed from Lauren Adams and found the back of the net for the game-tying goal. Adams and Sbrega each scored to build a 4-2 lead. Johnston trimmed the deficit to one, but a Sbrega goal with 1:08 on the clock gave Denison a 5-3 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs erased a 6-5 deficit with three unanswered goal in the second half. Adams broke up the Bulldog run with an unassisted tally at 14:10 to make it a one-goal game. Adrian's Meghan Reynolds rebuilt a 9-7 lead with 11:26 to play, but a goal by Tschantz with 8:38 left set the stage for the Denison comeback.
Sbrega finished with four goals, while Chapman added three scores and one assist. Adams finished with a team-best five points on two goals and three assists. Tschantz finished with seven draw controls, and is two shy from moving into second place on the Division III career draw control list.
The win marks DU's second NCAA tournament victory, but the first decided on the field. The Big Red's previous win came via forfeit in 1992. Denison improves to 15-4, while Adrian ends the season with a 17-3 record.