Delaware Win Streak Snapped in Overtime as JMU Upends Blue Hens 3-2 in Regular Season Finale
October 26, 2012
Photos Courtesy of Chris Permar
NEWARK, Del. -- Senior Night for the University of Delaware field hockey team did not turn out as planned Friday, but a new season is just around the corner for the Blue Hens.
Delaware battled play for play before a goal by James Madison's Taylor West with 5:41 left in the first overtime period gave the Dukes a 3-2 victory in the Colonial Athletic Association regular season finale for both teams at Rullo Stadium.
The Blue Hens (7-11, 3-4 CAA), who had a season-long three-game winning streak snapped, will now wait for their seeding in the upcoming six-team CAA Tournament which will be held at either Drexel, James Madison, or William & Mary next week.
The quarterfinals will be played on Nov. 1 with the semifinals and finals set for Nov. 2-4. Delaware has qualified for the tournament for the second straight year and for the third time in the last four seasons, including 2009 when Delaware captured the league title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a disappointing loss but we have only gotten stronger as the season has progressed,” said Delaware second year head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof. “We played a great game for about 85 percent of the time tonight so we have a few areas to improve. But we know what they are. It’s a new season with new goals now that we have secured a spot in the CAA Tournament.”
After trailing 2-1 late in regulation, the Blue Hens sent the game into overtime when junior Clare O'Malley (top right) tipped in a crossing pass from Toni Popinko with 4:16 left in regulation for her second goal of the season to knot the score at 2-2.
Delaware goalkeeper Sarah Scher (five saves) helped keep the game deadlocked when she made a diving save off a shot by Courtney Versfeld all alone in front of the net with 1:40 left to play.
The Dukes, playing their first road game since Sept. 23, then secured the win in the extra session when West took a short pass from Jenna Taylor, made a move to the left, and backhanded a hard shot past Scher into the net, setting off a wild celebration.
James Madison, which had lost three of its previous four games, improved to 10-7 (4-3 CAA) after beating Delaware for the fourth straight time. Dana Allaband and Courtney Versfeld each added goals for the Dukes while Jenna Taylor dished out three assists.
Delaware jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game when sophomore Kelsey McKee (above left), last week’s CAA and ECAC Player of the Week, netted her team-high 11th goal of the season with a shot off a rebound following a penalty corner.
The Hens, who outshot JMU 12-9 for the game, held onto the lead through halftime before JMU tied things up at 1-1 when Versfeld scored on a penalty corner off feeds from Allaband and Taylor with 21:19 left in the second half. The Dukes then took a 2-1 lead as Allaband scored off a tip-in following a hard shot from Taylor with 7:50 left. Delaware sent the game into overtime on O’Malley’s goal with 4:15 left to play.
James Madison goalkeeper Lena Wimmert, who entered the game leading the CAA in goals against average, posted three saves for the win.
Prior to the game Delaware honored its three seniors (above right) - Tori Sharpless, Carley Hecht, and Nikki Onorato - who played their final career games at Rullo Stadium.