Tigers Upend Denison, Advance to NCAC Tournament Title Game

Sarah Wallace
Sarah Wallace

The Wittenberg field hockey team jumped on top early and held off a late Denison charge to defeat the visiting Big Red 4-3 in the NCAC Tournament semifinals Saturday at Edwards-Maurer Field.

The Tigers are the defending NCAC regular season and tournament champions and the top seed in this year's competition after finishing in a three-way tie for first place in the regular season standings. They took a 3-1 lead into the halftime break and extended that advantage to 4-1 midway through the second half before Denison charged back. Junior Sarah Wallace (Reston, Va./South Lakes) scored off an assist from junior Carrie Happ (Pittsburgh, Pa./Vincentian) on a penalty corner play to open the scoring for Wittenberg and knot the game at 1-1 about a minute after the Big Red had scored first. Junior Blair Ufer (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) scored the go-ahead goal off a penalty corner thanks to a solid feed from freshman Rachel Dunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny). And senior Katie Babcock (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) recorded the third tally off an assist from Ufer late in the first half.

Freshman Katy Barrett (Powell, Ohio/Watterson) added the fourth goal early in the second half as she tipped in a cross by sophomore Julia Wickham (Columbus, Ohio/Grandview).

The biggest play of the game may have taken place inside of the final two minutes as Tiger junior Melanie Boss (Dayton, Ohio/Kettering Fairmont) cleared away the potential game-tying goal as the ball came across the goal mouth.

The Tigers now host the NCAC Tournament Championship game Saturday at Edwards-Maurer Field, where the team is a perfect 9-0 this year. Wittenberg, Wooster and Oberlin tied for first place in the NCAC regular season standings, and the Tigers and Scots, which split a pair of games this season, are slated to go for the title at 1 p.m. It is a rematch of the 2002 title game that was won by Wittenberg 6-2.