NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware sophomore Kelsey McKee (at right) scored two goals and freshman goalkeeper Megane Simons posted her first career victory in the cage as the Blue Hens won their first Colonial Athletic Association game of the season with a 2-1 field hockey triumph over Hofstra Sunday afternoon at Rullo Stadium.
McKee, a pre-season All-CAA selection, scored both of her goals in the opening half, including one on a penalty stroke, as the Blue Hens snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 5-10 overall and 1-3 in conference action.
Hofstra, which got a first half goal from Jonel Boileau to jump out to a 1-0 lead, lost for the fifth straight time and fell to 5-8 (0-4 CAA). Delaware improved to 20-6 all-time vs. the Pride and avenged a 7-2 setback last season on Long Island.
“If you look at our first half, it was probably the best hockey that we have played all season,” said Delaware second-year head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof. “It was a great team effort today and everyone was really out there working for each other. What we have learned from playing so many ranked opponents put us in a position to walk away a winner today.”
Delaware snapped a four-game losing streak that included being outscored 17-1 with setbacks to four straight Top 20 opponents, including CAA setbacks to William & Mary, Old Dominion, and most recently Northeastern Friday night. The win, which kept Delaware in the thick of the CAA Tournament race, was the Hens’ first at home since a 3-1 victory over Monmouth back on Sept. 12.
McKee, who led the team in goals with nine as a freshman a year ago, ran her career total to 16 as she scored twice and netted her second multiple-goal effort of the season after also scoring twice against Temple. McKee almost netted her first career hat trick but she was thwarted on a second penalty stroke attempt just six minutes into the second half when Pride goalkeeper Kaitlyn De Turo (four saves) made a glove save.
Simons, a native of Have, Belgium, started her fifth game of the season for the Blue Hens and picked up her first career victory as she posted three saves on the day.
Hofstra opened the scoring just 14:51 into the game as Boileau scored her team-high ninth goal of the season as she handled a loose ball and rifled a waist-high shot past Simons for 1-0 lead. But the rest of the day would belong to the Blue Hens thanks to McKee, who backhanded a shot from 10 yards out just one minute and 43 seconds later to tie the score at 1-1. She then scored the eventual game-winner with 10:12 left in the opening half on a penalty shot, beating De Turo to the left side.
“We have talked all week about improving our possession time,” said McKee. “I thought we did an amazing job with that today.”
The Hens will take the next 12 days off and return to action Oct. 19 at Drexel in a CAA showdown.