NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware cut a four-goal deficit in half midway through the fourth quarter, but the Blue Hens could never get even in the final minutes and dropped a pivotal 9-7 decision to Drexel in Colonial Athletic Association men's lacrosse action Saturday at rain-soaked Delaware Stadium.

Delaware junior attackman Beau Jones (below left) recorded his first career hat trick with three goals and redshirt freshman Steve DeLargy had a goal and an assist but it wasn't enough as the Blue Hens (5-5, 0-3 CAA) lost their third straight game and remained winless in league play.

Drexel (6-4, 1-1 CAA), which defeated the Hens for the third straight year, won its second straight game as the Dragons used a six goal run to break a tie early in the second quarter and stay on top the rest of the way. Nick Trizano led Drexel with three goals while Ryan Belka had two goals and dealt two assists and Ben McIntosh registered two goals.

Drexel outshot the Blue Hens by a wide 47-33 margin, including a 29-12 advantage in the opening half when the Dragons took a 5-2 lead into the break. The Dragons also won the groundball battle 27-21 and won 11 of 19 faceoffs, including 7 of 10 in the second half, as Delaware’s Tyler Barbarich and Drexel’s Nick Saputo clashed in a battle of top 10 national leaders.

“We had some opportunities that we just didn’t cash in on,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, whose team had defeated Drexel in three of the last four meetings at home. “We are disappointed that we couldn’t score more. Every college goalie is a quality goalie, but we have to do a better job of finishing. We just have to get back on the winning track. We have a quick turnaround (Hens play Tuesday at Manhattan) so the task will be tough.”

Drexel goalkeeper Will Gabrielsen posted 12 saves on the day while Delaware’s Conor Peaks (at right), who entered the game ranked in the national Top 20 in goals against average and save percentage, made 11 stops.  

A goal by Delaware’s Tom Holland just 32 seconds into the second quarter gave Delaware a 2-1 lead, but Drexel answered by scoring the final four goals of the half, including a tally by Trizano with just seven seconds left, to take a 5-2 lead at the break.

The Hens suffered a tough break when sophomore midfielder John O’Connor was whistled for a penalty as time expired in the first half. This gave the Dragons a man-up situation to begin the second half and they took advantage. Trizano and McIntosh each scored man-up goals during the first minute of the stanza to push the lead to 7-2.

But Delaware battled back, scoring three straight goals on a man-up score by Dan Keane and back-to-back goals by Jones to pull to within 7-5 early in the fourth quarter. Drexel’s Trizano stopped the Delaware string with a goal, but the Hens came right back on a score by Jackson Finigan to cut the margin to 8-6 with 7:45 left.

Delaware could not get closer though as Jason Boudreau scored for Drexel at the 2:13 mark to put the game away. Delaware’s DeLargy scored with 1:07 left to narrow the gap to 9-7, but the Hens didn’t get another shot off.