TOWSON, Md. -- Junior Toni Popinko (at right) scored two goals and assisted on another as part of dominating second half as the University of Delaware field hockey squad cruised to its third straight win and clinched a berth in next month's Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with a 4-0 victory over host Towson Sunday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Delaware (7-10, 3-3 CAA) broke away from a 0-0 deadlock at halftime to post four goals and move on to the win. The Hens’ win streak is its longest since posting nine straight during the 2009 campaign when the Hens captured the CAA title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Delaware has now scored four or more goals in consecutive games for the first time since early last season.
The Hens will now head to the six-team CAA Tournament, to be hosted by the regular season top-seed Nov. 1-4, for the second straight year and for the third time in the last four seasons.
Towson (1-16, 0-5 CAA), which was celebrating Senior Day, lost for the third straight time and remained winless in conference action this season. The Tigers have been outscored 23-4 in league play this season.
Popinko, who scored for the first time since a win over Saint Joseph's back on Sept. 25, recorded her first career multiple-goal game to lead the UD assault. Carley Hecht added a goal and an assist while Allie Mikelson scored a goal and Clare O’Malley dished out an assist.
Delaware held a commanding 14-5 edge in shots and registered a season-high 15 penalty corners. Delaware junior goalkeeper Sarah Scher needed to make just one save to post her first career shutout and complete the Hens’ first blanking of an opponent since a 3-0 win over Drexel last season.
After a 0-0 stalemate at halftime, the Hens came through in a big way in the second half. Mikelson scored what proved to be the game-winner just 5:16 into the second half as she took a feed from Hecht off a penalty corner for the 1-0 lead.
Popinko scored her first goal off a feed from O’Malley right in front of the cage just 10 minutes later and then assisted on a goal by Hecht 14 minutes after that for a 3-0 advantage. Popinko closed out the scoring with 9:23 left to play when she converted all alone in front of the cage.
Delaware will close out the regular season Oct. 26 when the Hens host James Madison for Senior Day at Rullo Stadium. Should the Hens pick up the victory, they could move up to as high as No. 2 in the league standings.