PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Delaware field hockey squad picked up its biggest win in head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof’s two-year tenure Friday night as sophomore Kelsey McKee recorded her first career hat trick and Heather Hartman (at right) dished out three assists as the Blue Hens knocked off No. 18 ranked Drexel in Colonial Athletic Association action at Buckley Field.
Freshman Michaela Patzner broke a 2-2 tie with a goal with just 4:30 remaining in the game and McKee finished off the hat trick with a goal on the final play of the game as the Blue Hens (6-10, 2-3 CAA) won their second straight game and moved a step closer to qualifying for the upcoming CAA Tournament.
Drexel (11-6, 3-2 CAA), which lost for the third time in the last four games, suffered its first setback in six games at home this season.
Delaware, coming off a 12-day break since a 2-1 win over Hofstra back on Oct. 7, will close out a key CAA weekend series on Sunday when the Hens head to last place Towson for a 12 noon game. A win would secure a spot in the CAA Tournament for the second straight season for the Hens.
The young Blue Hens, who feature 12 freshmen on their 25-person roster, have one of the nation’s most difficult schedules. Delaware had been 0-9 vs. Top 20 ranked teams this season and had lost 18 straight to ranked teams since a 1-0 victory over then No. 10 Drexel in the CAA Tournament championship game in 2009.
The Hens scored the only goal of the first half to take a 1-0 lead into halftime as McKee scored off a penalty corner, taking feeds from Hartman and Hecht and tallying a goal with just 4:40 left in the half.
The teams then traded scores in the second half with Drexel’s Lindsay McArdle tying the game at 1-1 with 15:29 left to play and McKee giving Delaware the lead again off another corner off a Hartman feed with 10:00 left for a 2-1 lead.
Drexel tied the game for the second time just five minutes later when Elise DiDonato scored an unassisted goal with 4:51 left to knot the contest at 2-2. Delaware then pulled away in the final moments as Patzner scored the game-winner with 4:30 left to play and McKee and Hartman hooked up again on the final play.
McKee, who upped her season goal total to 10, scored multiple goals for the third time this season and became the first Blue Hen player to notch a hat trick since Casey Howard and Rachel Schexnayder both scored three times vs. Towson in 2009. Hartman became the first Blue Hen player to record three assists in a game since Kimmy Schlezes had three in that same 2009 contest against Towson.
Drexel outshot Delaware 16-10 with Blue Hen goalkeeper Sarah Scher posting the win with seven saves. Jantien Gunter had four saves for Drexel.