By David Allen & Laura Carr
The DU men’s lacrosse team went undefeated during this year’s regular season, becoming the first time a Denison men’s lacrosse team has accomplished that feat. DU also made a strong mark in the NCAA DIII tournament with convincing victories.
The Big Red faced Centre in the first round where the men won the game easily, outscoring Centre 19-4. DU ended the first half of this game with a 10-0 lead, with Eddie Vita ‘14 and Blair Farinholt ‘16 both notching two goals while Teddy Powell ‘15 scored a hat trick. By the end of the game, Farinholt and Luke Walsh ‘17 both notched a hat trick, and Vita tallied up five assists.
Game 2 brought Aurora College who scored 8 goals on the Big Red. DU found themselves down 2-0 early in the game, yet, with steady play and two hat tricks from Farinholt and Walsh (who scored 4 goals), the Big Red squeaked by 11-8, prevailing in the final quarter by scoring three goals to Aurora’s one. It should be mentioned that the whirling assist-devil Vita, yet again, recorded five assists in a game that was as close as it was entertaining.
DU would ultimately meet their doom at the capable hands of No. 2 Salisbury, 15-5. It was not the prettiest game for the Big Red, who mustered only 14 shots on goal to Salisbury’s 22, and had 16 turnovers to Salisbury’s 11. Even after DU’s Farinholt scored the first goal at the 13:55 mark of the first period, Salisbury picked up the pace and ran off with it as by the 14:48 mark in the third quarter, DU was down 8-1.
Vita reflected on his final lacrosse game as a collegiate athlete: “When my final game ended, I was disappointed but proud of our achievements throughout the season,” he said. “When walking off the field for the last time and taking off my jersey for the last time, I couldn’t help but have a little smile because I knew how much better my college experience was with Denison and how fortunate I was to play for such an institution.”
Vita continued, “This year and this team will be with me the rest of my life. You can show me a picture of the 2014 team in 50 years and I guarantee I’ll be able to name every player on the team and I’ll have a fond memory with each of them.”
Yet, DU, who now have made the Elite Eight for the third time in six years, have something else to cheer about after head coach Mike Caravana earned Division III Coach of The Year honors from Lacrosse Magazine.
“Coach Caravana stressed the importance of becoming better,” Walsh said. “No matter whether it was in the classroom, on the field, in a play. He wanted us to give our best effort. My favorite quote of his was, ‘being good is not a part-time thing.’ It is likely he said those words every single day at practice and I really took that to heart. He is a legend in the lacrosse world.”
“It is no surprise to me that he won coach of the year, he kept the team motivated and maximized the production of everyone.”
In addition, Tommy Harrison ‘14 was named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s Scholar All-American team and he, along with two other players, Austin Campbell ‘14 and Chapin Speidel ‘14, played in the North-South Senior All-Star game.
And while this season was an excellent one, it is the next season that might be troubling. As with the bevy of seniors each year that leave the Granville campus, this time newcomer Walsh, the outstanding freshman from Buffalo, N.Y., will also be leaving. Walsh will be transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he plans to play in their Division I lacrosse program.
“First off, I just want to say that I had a fantastic experience at Denison,” he said.
“I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to play for Caravana. Part of me is sad to leave in the midst of such a thriving time for Denison.”
Walsh was an integral piece to DU’s success, as he won NCAC Newcomer of the Year, was named to the All-NCAC first team and scored 51 goals, the sixth most in DU history.
“I look back on this year with no regrets while cultivating lifelong friendships and memories. As for Chapel Hill, it is my mom’s alma mater and it has been my dream to attend UNC since I was a kid. Denison has prepared me well, and I will be sure to represent this university with pride. It was an honor to spend my freshman year at Denison and I will never forget being a member of such a historical season.”