Delaware Field Hockey Advances to Championship Game with 4-2 Win over William & Mary in CAA Semifinals
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first 18 minutes and never looked back Friday night as the No. 17 ranked Blue Hen field hockey squad opened the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with a 4-2 victory over William & Mary at Rullo Stadium.
Delaware, the No. 1 seed and CAA regular season champions, got goals from four different players and cruised to its sixth straight victory to improve to 15-4. William & Mary, the No. 4 seed, ended its season with a mark of 8-11. The Blue Hens, who are 9-1 at home this season, had defeated the Tribe 4-0 back on Oct. 4 at Rullo.
With the victory, the Blue Hens move into the CAA Championship game on Sunday at Rullo Stadium where they will play No. 3 Northeastern at 1 p.m. Northeastern upset No. 2 seed Drexel 2-0 in the other game Friday.
The winner of the championship game will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
“It was a great effort tonight, especially after a somewhat shaky first 10-15 minutes,” said Delaware head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof, the 2013 CAA Co-Coach of the Year. “We relied on our game plan and had a great team effort, especially after the half. I thought we dominated even though the stats don’t show. We were fortunate to come out on top and move on to the championship.”
The Hens, who outshot the Tribe 23-12 and got eight saves from senior goalkeeper Sarah Scher, are looking to earn their first conference title since winning the 2009 championship.
Delaware, which has outscored opponents 26-5 during the winning streak, led start to finish as the Hens opened the scoring 12:54 into the game when senior Kasey Prettyman netted her eighth goal of the season off a penalty corner. Freshman Esmee Peet, the CAA Player and Rookie of the Year, and Allie Mikelson provided the assists.
The Hens made it 2-0 on a goal by Michaela Patzner (above left) just under five minutes later as she took a feed from Meghan Winesett and scored from 10 yards out. The goal was the team-high 15th of the season.
“This win was amazing,” said Scher. “This is what we work for every year and now it is do or die time. Hopefully we can keep playing well and come out with a win (Sunday). It was great playing here on our home turf.”
William & Mary got on the board on a goal by Lindsey Buckheit with 2:42 left in the first half but the Hens answered right back as Winesett scored off a Toni Popinko assist just 52 seconds later to give UD a 3-1 lead at the break.
Delaware put the game away in the second half when Peet scored her 11th goal of the season just two minutes into the second half.