On Saturday, the eighth-ranked Big Red men’s lacrosse squad played its final North Coast Athletic Conference game of the 2012 season. With an 11-6 come-from-behind triumph over Kenyon College, Denison not only finished its NCAC schedule with a perfect 5-0 record, but also captured its second consecutive conference championship. Last year, DU shared the three-way title with Ohio Wesleyan and Wittenberg, but this year the Big Red won the championship outright. Kenyon secured this year’s NCAC runner-up honors, while Ohio Wesleyan finished third, and Wittenberg placed fourth.
When faced with a two-goal deficit in the third quarter against Kenyon, the Big Red roared back with a vengeance, scoring seven unanswered goals in the final 25 minutes to secure the decisive win. For his three-goal effort against the Lords, including the tying and go-ahead goals, Zach Walsh, a senior midfielder from Mountain Lakes, N.J., was honored as the NCAC’s Player of the Week.
Along with the NCAC championship trophy, Denison won the inaugural Thomsen-Heiser Trophy, a newly instituted award that will go to the winner of the annual Denison-Kenyon match-up. The trophy is named for late Denison lacrosse coach Tommy Thomsen and former Kenyon coach Bill Heiser. The two men were friends, as well as rivals, and following Coach Thomsen’s death earlier this year, both schools decided to honor their venerable former mentors and acknowledge the longstanding rivalry with the institution of the trophy.
The Big Red followed up Saturday’s win with a 23-2 blowout of Otterbein University on Tuesday, and they have one more regular-season contest scheduled in 2012, a non-conference bout this Saturday afternoon in Granville versus the Bearcats of St. Vincent College. Following that finale, the DU stickers will await their draw in the 2012 NCAA Championship Tournament bracket. Denison has appeared in the NCAA playoffs every year since 2005, making it as far as the national quarterfinals in 2009. The Big Red have advanced to the national Final Four twice, bowing out to Gettysburg in 2001 and eventual national champ Salisbury State in 1999.
To read more about this year’s NCAC championship and the Kenyon victory, including video, stats and more, visit DensionBigRed.com.