BETHEL PARK, Pa.-- Denison women's lacrosse closed out their regular season slate with a 13-10 victory over Stevenson University. The game was played at a neutral site in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.
Denison heads into the postseason winners of nine-straight. Saturday's win completes a perfect (8-0) month of April.
The Big Red started strong, jumping out to a 7-2 lead over the first 15 minutes of play. Leah Israel got DU on the board 10 seconds into the game when she scored off the opening draw. Two minutes later, Claire Ludlow connected with first-year standout Kiely Noonan for her 41st goal of the season. The assist moved Ludlow into second place on Denison's career leaderboard with 69.
This game also pitted two sisters against each other as Stevenson's Brady Heher went head-to-head with Denison's Maddy Heher. Maddy got in the scoring column first at the 21:53 mark in the first off an assist from Noonan. Just 20 seconds later, Ludlow notched her 37th goal of the season to put Denison on top, 4-1.
Denison followed with three free position goals as Reid Hirschey and Claudia Rafi got in the scoring act. For Hirschey it was her 26th and 27th goals of the season. It also ran her career goal total to 104. Rafi's goal was her first of a team-high five on the day.
Stevenson made it a three-goal game with under nine minutes to play in the first, but Denison charged back with goals from Ludlow, Rafi and Heher to go into halftime with a 9-4 lead.
In the second half, the Mustangs outscored Denison 6-3 but that didn't matter. The Big Red's early lead managed to absorb Stevenson's comeback bid.
Rafi led the way with five goals off seven shots. She had one ground ball and was 2-for-3 on free position attempts. Ludlow scored two goals and had one assist. She also moved into second place on DU's career points list with 239. With both milestones, she passed former teammate Carol Allen '16. Jane Goodspeed led the defense with three caused turnovers, five draw controls and two ground balls.
Denison (13-3) outshot Stevenson (9-7) 30-26 while holding a 13-12 edge in draw controls.
The Big Red will open postseason play on Wednesday (May 3) with the semifinals of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. Denison will be the No. 1 seed and will face the No. 4 seed, Wittenberg. A start time will be announced on Monday.