Third Quarter Spurt Leads No. 19 Delaware to 10-6 Victory Over Saint Joseph's; Blue Hens Clinch CAA Playoff Berth
April 16, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Delaware scored seven straight goals to break an early third quarter deadlock and held off host Saint Joseph's the rest of the way to come away with a 10-6 Colonial Athletic Association men's lacrosse victory at rainy Finnesy Field Saturday afternoon.
The win, played during a steady rainstorm that escalated in the final quarter, allowed the No. 19 ranked Blue Hens to remain unbeaten in conference play and, thanks to Drexel's triple overtime loss to Massachusetts Saturday, clinch one of four spots in the CAA Tournament in May.
The defending CAA champion Hens will continue league play next Saturday when they host Penn State in the final regular season home game of the season at Delaware Stadium.
Delaware (9-4, 4-0 CAA) overcame a sluggish offensive performance in the first half with a spirited third quarter as the Hens snapped a 3-3 deadlock by scoring three straight goals in a two-minute span to take control at 6-3. The Hens then netted the first four goals of the final stanza to pull away and withstood three goals by the Hawks over the final five minutes to go home a winner.
Nick Diachenko (top right), who scored a career-high four goals in Delaware's 14-11 win over Dartmouth Tuesday, continued his hot play as he scored three goals to lead the Blue Hen attack. Sean Finegan added two goals and two assists while Nick Elsmo and Grant Kaleikau each contributed a goal and two assists. Eric Smith scored a goal to extend his point-scoring streak to all 13 games this season while Elsmo extended his team-leading goal-scoring streak to eight straight games.
Delaware senior goalkeeper Noah Fossner (bottom left) highlighted the strong defensive effort by posting 11 saves, including the 500th stop of his career. The Hens also forced 13 Hawk turnovers.
"It was difficult weather out there but we got the job done today," said Bob Shillinglaw, who earned career win 297 and has now led Delaware to at least nine wins in six of the last seven seasons "Our defense did a nice job against a patient Saint Joseph's offense and our guys on offense stayed with it and cashed in on some second half opportunities that helped us pull away. It's great to be 4-0 in the league and we are looking forward to our final two league games."
Saint Joseph's (0-10, 0-5 CAA), a first-year member of the CAA, remained winless on the season, falling for the 12th time in its last 14 games since last season and extending its home losing streak to six games. Kyle Williams and Augustus Quinzani each had a goal and an assist for the Hawks while Johnny Simanski contributed a goal and an assist and goalkeeper Griffin Ferrigan turned back 13 shots.
Delaware has now won all 11 meetings with the Hawks all-time but this game was only the third in the series decided by less than four goals.
The Blue Hens are now off to a 4-0 start for the first time since joining the CAA in 2002 and for the first time since starting out 4-0 while members of the America East conference in 2000. Delaware has now defeated nine straight league foes, the team’s longest streak of success since downing 11 straight league foes between the 1998 and 2000 campaigns.
For the sixth straight game, the Hens allowed the first goal of the game as Quinzani put the Hawks up 1-0 on a goal just under two minutes into the soggy contest.
Delaware’s Finnegan answered with back-to-back goals and Smith added a tally midway through the second quarter to give the Hens a 3-1 lead before Quinzani struck again with a goal at the 2:43 mark of the second quarter to give UD a 3-2 advantage at the break.
The Hawks tied things up at 3-3 just 40 seconds into the second half when Quinzani fed Williams for a goal, but that would mark the last time that the hosts would own a share of the lead.
The Hens dominated the next 22 minutes of action to take control, scoring the next three goals of the third quarter and the first four of the last stanza to go up 10-3. Diachenko, Kaleikau, and Elsmo each scored in a span of 2:46 early in the third quarter to push the lead to 6-3 and Diachenko scored twice in the final quarter, tallying his second goal with 5:44 left to play to extend the margin to 10-3.
Saint Joseph’s made a late run, scoring three times in the final 5:03, including two on man-up situations, but could not catch up.