GAMBIER, Ohio - The high-scoring Wittenberg Tigers continued their breakneck pace, scoring five unanswered goals in the first 14 minutes as a springboard to a 17-12 road win over North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Kenyon.
The win moved the Tigers to 5-2 overall, but more importantly Wittenberg is 2-0 in the early going of the 2014 NCAC title chase. For the first time since the NCAC Tournament was implemented, the official league champion will be crowned based on the regular season standings. The Tigers have not lost in NCAC regular season play since the 2012 season, a run of 16 straight games.
Kenyon dropped to 6-3 overall and 0-2 in the NCAC. The Ladies were picked to win the NCAC title in 2014, with Wittenberg picked to finish second in preseason balloting of league coaches.
Wittenberg, which came into the game ranked seventh nationally with more than 17 goals per game, ambushed the Ladies with five straight goals before Kenyon finally got on the board at the 13:25 mark of the first half. By halftime, the Tigers had pushed the lead to 9-3, and over the final 30 minutes Wittenberg did not allow Kenyon to get any closer than three goals.
The final shot count was remarkably even, with each team credited with 15 shots in each half for a total of 30. The Ladies held an advantage in the final ground ball count, led in draw controls and committed fewer turnovers. But Wittenberg got a fine game from sophomore goalkeeper Katie Reuter (Cleveland, Ohio/Hathaway Brown), who made a career-high 13 saves, to preserve the win.
The offense did the rest, efficiently netting 17 of the 30 shots Wittenberg attempted. Senior Francine Murzynski (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) led the way with five goals on six shots to go along with a team-best five draw controls.
Junior Megan Loofbourrow (Prospect, Ky./Ballard) added four goals on just four shots in the game, while junior Logan Warye (Maineville, Ohio/Kings) added four goals of her own to go along with a team-high five ground balls. Senior Alie Marousek (Ballston Lake, NY/Portsmouth (NH)) was a key facilitator on offense with three goals and three assists, while junior Beth Hubbard (West Hartford, Conn./Notre Dame de Sion (Mo.)) added one goal and one assist and freshman Becca Joseph (Toledo, Ohio/St. Ursula) rounded out the scoring with one assist.
Defensively, senior Mallory Skrobot (Dublin, Ohio/Watterson) led the way with four ground balls.