Delaware Returns Home to Host Penn State; Hens Look to Lock Down Home Playoff Berth; Senior Day, Military Appreciation Day Events Also Scheduled
April 22, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The No. 19 ranked University of Delaware men’s lacrosse squad returns home Saturday night to host Penn State looking to lock up a home berth in the upcoming Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
The league-leading Blue Hens (9-4, 4-0 CAA), who went on the road to post back-to-back victories over Dartmouth and Saint Joseph’s last week, will take on the Nittany Lions (5-6, 3-1 CAA) in a key matchup at 7 p.m. at Delaware Stadium. Great tickets are available at the gate an hour before faceoff.
The Blue Hens will honor their 10 seniors prior to the contest as Delaware will also host Military Appreciation Night.
Among the promotions for the game will be an Operation Homefront Drive with fans asked to bring Walmart Gift Cards, household items, or non-perishable food items to be donated to military families. In addition, there will be a t-shirt giveaway and Fan Zone Fun, featuring live music and entertainment from 94.7 WDSD, an Under Armour Freedom Mobile, Blue Hen Bounce House, a letter writing station to deployed service members, and facepainting. In addition, UD Athletics will host Operation Military Kids and their families from the Dover Air Force Base. A portion of all gameday proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Defending CAA champion Delaware enters the game alone atop the CAA standings and can clinch one of two home berths in the upcoming CAA semifinals May 4 with a victory over Penn State. If the Hens knock off the Nittany Lions and Hofstra defeats Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon, Delaware would clinch the CAA regular season title and homefield advantage throughout the tournament.
Delaware, which hopes to give head coach Bob Shillinglaw his 298th career victory, is looking to start out 5-0 in league play for the first time since finishing the America East slate with an undefeated 5-0 mark in 1999 when the Hens advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Hens’ nine-game winning streak vs. CAA foes is their longest since winning 11 straight between the 1998 and 2000 season.
Penn State, which will secure a CAA playoff spot with a win over Delaware or a loss by Drexel at Towson Saturday, is receiving votes in the latest USILA Top 20 poll. It has been a season of close calls for the Nittany Lions, who have won five of their last seven games and are coming off a 7-6 win over Towson last Saturday. Seven of Penn State’s 11 games this season have been decided by two goals or less, including each of the last three by a single goal.
Delaware is led offensively by junior Eric Smith (18 goals), who has scored a point in every game this season, and defensively by senior goalkeeper Noah Fossner (8.94 goals against average, .529 save pct.). Penn State is led by a pair of freshman in attackman Shane Sturgis (16 goals, 15 assists) and goalkeeper Austin Kaut. Kaut leads the nation with a .633 save percentage.