Fevered Pitches

Fevered Pitches

By reaching the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, the women’s soccer squad pushed deeper into post-season action than any of their previous eight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Their 16-4-4 season ended at the hands, uh…feet, of The College of New Jersey, who broke a 1-1 tie with just under three minutes left in the game. Denison hosted the first two rounds of their ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their run featured victories over Frostburg State (2-0), DePauw (1-0), and Otterbein (4-3), which ended with a nail-biting shootout. Along the way, Denison won the NCAC championship and placed eight players—Colleen Wirtz ’06, Anne Young ’06, Kim Cochran ’08, Liz Gillette ’08, Tammy Hoch ’07, Sarah Ash ’09, Kia Anderson ’08, and Maureen Young ’09—on the All-NCAC squad, while Head Coach Gail Murphy received her first NCAC Coach of the Year honor. In addition, goalkeeper Gillette and midfielder Wirtz repeated as members of the NCSAA/adidas women’s Division III All-America team. Wirtz, a biology major who leaves Denison tied for sixth place with 33 goals and eighth with 81 points, made the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® first-team and the NSCAA/adidas Women’s College Scholar All-America first-team. As a team, the Big Red lead the nine-team NCAC with a combined 3.44 GPA and earned the NSCAA’s College Team Academic Award.

Everyone knows the women’s rugby club is tough. That’s why the Ohio Rugby Union forced them up to Division II this year—they kept whoopin’ on all of their D-III opponents season after season. But the lady ruggers surprised even themselves this fall with the toughness—not to mention skill—to beat every D-II team they faced, including the likes of Dayton, Kentucky, Ohio U. and Kent State. They were so tough, in fact, that they pounded opponents all the way through the state and regional playoffs to the Midwest Championship. Under the expert guidance of volunteer coach and OSU doctoral student Annemarie Farrell, Denison completed the 2005 campaign ranked sixth among all D-II teams in the U.S., and will enter the national championship round-of-eight tournament this April in Sanford, Florida. (Of course, no one planned for that trip this year, so they’re spending the off-season trying to raise money to pay for it.) Watch for more details on our Queens of the Scrummage in the spring issue.

Published March 2006