Blue Hens Fall to Drexel in Heartbreaking Fashion on Penalty Kicks in CAA Semifinals
PHILADELPHIA – The University of Delaware men’s soccer team dropped a heartbreaking Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) semifinal match against Drexel on penalty kicks at Vidas Field.
The No.1 seeded Dragons (8-7-4) got out to an early 2-0 first half lead over No.4 seeded Delaware (14-4-1), much like they did in the regular season, but the Blue Hens battled back and scored the game-tying goal with just five minutes left in regulation.
With just 5 minutes remaining in regulation, keeper Borja Barbero sent the ball up into the Delaware offensive zone. After the ball was headed by Even Reed over multiple Drexel defenders, the CAA Rookie of the Year, Guillermo Delgado (below) put a shot into the left side of the goal to tie the match, 2-2.
Roberto Giménez, an All-CAA Second Team selection, brought the Hens within one goal of Drexel in the 65th minute of when he headed a loose ball into the back of the net for his fifth tally of the season and second goal of the post-season.
Drexel scored the opening goal of the contest just 11 minutes into the first half to give the Dragons an early 1-0 advantage. Joaquin del Rosario registered his first goal of the season after a pass from Michele Pataia. In the 33rd minute of action is would be del Rosario again for the Dragons as the sophomore gave Drexel a 2-0 lead. The forward’s second goal of the game was assisted by Tal Bublil and John Grosh.
The Dragons and Hens played tied, 2-2 through the remaining five minutes of regulation then another through another 20 minutes of overtime forcing penalty kicks.
Barbero made a fantastic save on Drexel’s first PK attempt. Delaware’s Prince Nartey and Vincent Mediate made the Blue Hens first two penalty kicks. The Dragons went on to make the next seven of eight penalty kick shots, but Delaware could not match Drexel’s efforts missing two of its last seven attempts. Jaime Martinez, Joe Dipre, Kyle Nuel and Ben Asante all successfully executed their penalty kick attempts for Delaware.
"I couldn't be more proud of the these lads tonight," said Blue Hen head coach Ian Hennessy. "They were certainly value for the money this evening and entertained an excellent crowd, including a large contingent of our own supports here in Philadelpia."
Drexel will advance to the CAA Championship Saturday, Nov. 16 against the third seed William & Mary Tribe. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Delaware will wait to see if its NCAA Tournament hope will become a reality on Monday, Nov. 18 at Noon during the Division I men’s soccer selection show. The Hens current 27th ranking in the RPI give Delaware a shot at an at-large bid to the 48-team bracket.
"I will be disappointed if our journey doesn't continue, but we will have to wait unti Monday at Noon to see how the NCAA committee is appreciate," said Hennessy.
- Tonight’s match marks the second time in three years the Blue Hens CAA semifinal match came down to penalty kicks
- Reed tallied his first assist of the season on the Hens first goal of the game
- Delgado’s tally marks his 14th of the year
- Delaware will look to make its second trip to the NCAA tournament in three years