May 11, 2011

Messiah Pulls Away from Denison in NCAAs

from press release

GRANTHAM, Pa. -- Denison started strong, pulling out to a 3-1 lead through the first 12 minutes of play, but No. 12 Messiah utilized an eight-goal run midway through the first half to steal momentum away from the Big Red, and win 14-7 in an NCAA Division III women's lacrosse tournament first-round game.

Kara Geiman scored four goals to lead Messiah. Rachel Dirksen and Lizzy Keeney added three goals each. Geiman and Dirksen also dished three assists each.

The first half told most of the story as all but 18 of the 21 goals scored in the contest came over the first 30 minutes of play. After Messiah got things started with an early goal, Denison came right back when Lulu Carter (Greenwich, Conn./The Millbrook School) found Alex Thurner (Cincinnati, Ohio/Summit Country Day) for a goal just nine seconds after Messiah's first score of the game.

DU would respond with two-straight Jenny Strathern (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) goals over the next three minutes. With 18:31 to play in the first half Rachel Dirksen opened the floodgates for Messiah with her unassisted goal. That would spur the eight-goal run which would last until the 5:17 mark of the first half when Phoebe Myhrum (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side Academy) broke the streak and trimmed the Falcon advantage to 9-4.

Just 26 seconds later, Messiah would start a new streak as Keeney scored her third goal of the game that set off a three-goal run for Messiah.

A free-position goal by Myhrum and a goal by Molly Sbrega (Portland, Maine/Deering) from Carter would keep Denison within striking distance, at 12-6 heading into halftime.

For as much offense as there was in the first half, the Falcons managed to slow things down in the second half, attempting only five shots over the 30 minute period while holding Denison to 11 shot attempts. Denison did get one second half goal from Carter but the Falcons were careful to not turn the ball over, thus negating the possibility of a Denison comeback.

Myhrum and Strathern both finished with two goals for the Big Red while Carter led the way with three points (one goal, two assists). Sbrega (one goal), Thurner (one goal) and Molly Cornbrooks (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park Country Day), who had one assist, were the point-scorers for Denison. Defensively, Carly Tschantz (Omaha, Neb./New Trier[Ill.]) had four draw controls and three ground balls while Alyssa Zinsser (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) posted three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Denison's season, and 10-game winning streak comes to a close with an overall record of 13-5. That is the most victories by a DU women's lacrosse team since 1993 and it ties for the second-most wins in program history.

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