By Will Hamburger
The Denison men’s lacrosse team improved their winning streak to nine games this week with victories over Hiram 15-1 and Oberlin 13-6.
Denison’s two early season losses are now far behind the team, which holds a 21 game win streak in the NCAC dating back to 2011. Dominance in conference play has enabled the Big Red to turn their season around and refocus on a late season run.
The turnaround does not come as a surprise as the Big Red have a lot of young talent with limited experience against top opponents. Eric Baumgardner ‘16 spoke to some of those reasons, “We have a lot of young players and I think we learned a lot as a team during those first two losses. Also, the weather has played a big part since we can go outside more and practice real game situations.”
Regardless of what specifically caused the turnaround, the Big Red continue to dominate in the NCAC. Against Hiram, Denison came out of the gates ready to play with seven first quarter goals, each of which were scored by a different player. Nick Caravana ‘15 paced DU with their first goal of the game and two goals with two assists overall. As a team Denison outshot Hiram 50-20 and dominated ground balls 45-23.
The dominance and quick starts continued against Oberlin on Saturday. The Big Red scored 4 goals in the first quarter while holding the Yeomen scoreless. In addition, the DU men were able to force 8 turnovers in the first along with a 4-5 mark on faceoffs. The second quarter saw both teams take a combined 15 shots with Denison coming out with the only goal. In the third Denison maintained its lead while pouring in seven goals and allowing just two en route to a deciding 13-6 win at Piper Stadium.
Team leader Nick Caravana, who scored three goals against Oberlin, commented on the turnaround for the DU men, “The recipe for our winning streak is found in our intense practices,” Caravana said.
“Whenever we take the field the seniors and coaches throughout the streak have made sure the team is always getting better. We also pride ourselves on wearing opponents down over the course of the game, we try not to force plays, we wait for the other team to make mistakes and then we capitalize.”
Denison now stands at 9-2 overall and a 4-0 conference record. The Big Red look to maintain their winning streak into the conference tournament and eventually carry that momentum in the NCAA tournament.
The DU men will put their 21 game NCAC winning streak on the line Wednesday in a matchup against Wooster at Piper Stadium at 7:30.