CLEVELAND, Ohio – After capturing their 11th NCAC championship and second-straight conference tournament title just a year ago, Denison field hockey enters the 2019 campaign as the preseason favorites to win the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Selected to win the conference for the second-consecutive season, the Big Red received eight of the nine first-place votes for a total of 80 points while Kenyon was voted to finish in second place with 65 points. Wooster followed in third with 64 points and the final first-place vote and Wittenberg rounded out the top-four with 50 points.
Despite the loss of All-American Lucy Pearsall due to graduation, the Big Red return their top-two scorers from a year ago in senior Charlotte Happel and junior Charlotte Godfrey. The dynamic duo combined for 16 goals and 10 assists in 2018 while earning all-conference honors for their efforts.
In total, Denison retains 75 percent of their offense that outscored opponents 51-14 this past season. Abby Scully, Maya Tumiwa, and AC Veith tallied four goals each to help lead the Big Red a year ago, while Veith tied for the team-lead with six assists. Last year's dominance also brings Denison into 2019 with an NCAC-record 26-game winning streak in conference play that began on Sept. 15, 2017, in a 4-0 win over Oberlin.
Ali Gakenheimer enters her senior season as the leader on a Denison defense that led the conference with a 0.65 goals-against average in 2018. Junior goalie Teya Adams looks to improve on her breakout sophomore season where she posted an overall record of 18-3 with 44 saves and a goals-against-average of 0.60.
Denison head coach P.J. Soteriades returns for her 19th season at the helm of the Big Red in 2019. Since taking over the program in 2000, Soteriades has won 187 games and has advanced to the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament 13 times. She is the program's all-time leader in wins and is the longest-tenured coach in Denison field hockey history. The Big Red open their season on Friday, August 30 when they travel to Carlisle, Pa. for a matchup with Dickinson College at 1 p.m.