Big Red roundup: Fall athletes deliver three NCAC tournament titles

Big Red Athletics
December 14, 2023

Men’s soccer coach Brandon Bianco hung a framed photo on his office wall that he believes perfectly encapsulates the spirit of his 2023 team.

It’s a pack of players, their faces radiating joy, running from the bench at the full-time whistle to celebrate a 3-1 North Coast Athletic Conference final win over rival Kenyon.

“This is the most connected team we’ve had in my time here,” Bianco said. “The chemistry of the group is tremendous and, quite honestly, why I put the picture up.”

With their new stadium under construction, the Big Red ended up playing 13 of their 20 games away from campus. They went 7-3-3 on their travels, including the NCAC tournament championship match on Kenyon’s campus. Overall, the Big Red were 12-5-3.  

“We took some of the adversity of being on the road so often as a badge of honor and really leaned into it,” Bianco said.

Defender Chris Giglio ’24 and midfielder Kameron Kist ’26 garnered third-team NCAA Division III regional honors.

Women’s soccer 

Sarah Brink had a daunting to-do list after being named Denison’s first new women’s soccer coach in 27 years.

In replacing Gail Murphy, one of the sport’s winningest Division III coaches, Brink needed to quickly build relationships with players, create a nurturing culture, and remain competitive in conference play.

By season’s end, her team gave her another task: Finding more room in the program’s trophy case. The Big Red peaked at the right time to win the conference tournament championship. They defeated Wittenberg 1-0 in the semifinals before topping DePauw 2-0 in the championship in Greencastle, Indiana.  

“We came into the tournament with a little chip on our shoulder because we felt we were a better team than we showed late in the regular season,” said Brink, whose squad finished with an 8-5-6 record. “We were just much more attentive to details, completely focused for 90 minutes in those games.”

The conference tournament championship created a nice bridge between Murphy and Brink, who delivered back-to-back titles for the program in the last two seasons.

The Big Red were led by midfielder Ellie Reiser ’24, who earned third-team NCAA Division III regional honors.

With fresh silverware in the trophy case and a new stadium waiting to greet them in the fall, Brink is eager for year two.

Field hockey 

One of the stingiest defenses in the conference sent the Big Red to the NCAA tournament and ended the undefeated season for rival Ohio Wesleyan.  

Emma Gebhart ’27 scored a goal in overtime to help Denison to a 1-0 victory in the conference tournament championship. The victory capped an extraordinary run of defensive dominance in which the Big Red did not allow a single goal in 12 NCAC games, including two in the tournament. (Denison’s lone regular-season conference loss to Ohio Wesleyan came in a shootout after a scoreless 90 minutes.)

“Going an entire season without giving up a goal in conference, and winning every home game for the second year in a row, is truly indicative of how we played as a cohesive team,” coach P.J. Soteriades said.

Fittingly, the air-tight defense was led by a Lock. Grace Lock ’24 was named conference defensive player of the year. Lock and fellow defender Cary Mauck ’24 both earned NCAA Division III regional honors — Lock on first team and Mauck on second team.  

The Big Red finished the season 13-6 overall and 9-1 in the NCAC. 


The Big Red won its final four games to finish the season 7-3 overall and tiee for second place in the NCAC standings.  

The program has remained a model of consistency, winning at least six conference games for the eighth consecutive year.

The Big Red was driven by a prolific offense that tallied 35-plus points five times. Running back Trey Fabrocini ’24 led the conference in rushing (1,406 yards) and scoring (120 points). Receiver Josh Aiello ’23 was second in scoring with 90 points, while breaking the program record with 15 receiving touchdowns. 

Fabrocini, offensive lineman Kevin Stone ’23, and linebacker Jeff Moore ’24 all earned second-team regional recognition. Aiello was a third teamer. 


The youthful squad finished 10-18 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The Big Red had its first 3-0 start to a season since 2012.

Claire Hamilton ’27, an outside hitter, earned second-team conference honors. Corinne Boyd ’24, Cailey Johns ’25, and Alice Kempf ’26 received third-team recognition.

Men’s cross country 

Noah Cyr ’26 earned first-team conference honors for a second consecutive year, finishing fifth overall in the NCAC Cross Country Championship. Worth Hinshaw ’24 placed eighth in the conference meet to garner second-team honors.

The Big Red were fifth overall in the NCAC race before finishing 20th out of 40 teams in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.    

Women’s cross country

Three seniors finished among the top-150 runners in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Cara Bodary ’24 led the Big Red with a 98th place finish in a field of 269 runners. Michaela Hassler ’24 was the second Big Red runner across the line, landing in 117th place.

Overall, Denison was 26th out of 40 teams in the field.

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