Delaware Puts Title Hopes on Hold as #19 Blue Hens Struggle Offensively in 13-3 Loss to Penn State
April 23, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware men's lacrosse squad will have to wait another week for the chance to capture a regular season conference title.
The No. 19 ranked Blue Hens, who could have clinched the Colonial Athletic Association regular season crown and home field advantage for the upcoming league semifinals with a win Friday against Penn State, suffered through a tough night on offense and dropped a 13-3 decision to the Nittany Lions.
Delaware (9-5, 4-1 CAA), which had defeated nine straight conference opponents and entered the game riding a two-game win streak, recorded its lowest goal output since the 2007 season to fall into a three-way tie for first place with Penn State and Hofstra. With the victory, Penn State earned a spot in the CAA tournament.
The Hens, who also ave already clinched one of the four semifinal berths, lost for only the second time in their last 15 home games at Delaware Stadium.
If the Hens can defeat Massachusetts next Friday in Amherst, Mass. in their regular season finale, they would clinch one of two semifinal home berths. Should Hofstra also knock off Penn State next Saturday, the defending CAA champion Blue Hens would still capture the regular season crown.
Matt Mackrides scored four goals and dished out and assist, Gavin Ahern doubled his season output by recording a hat trick, and Jack Forster tallied two goals to lead the Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-1 CAA) to their second straight victory. Freshman goalkeeper Austin Kaut, the national leader in save percentage and saves per game, stopped 11 saves on the night to pick up the win.
Kevin Kaminski (top right), Grant Kaleikau (bottom left), and Eric Smith each scored a goal for the Hens but Delaware could manage only three goals on 39 total shots. The three goals was the lowest output for the Hens since falling to Johns Hopkins 8-3 in the NCAA semifinals in 2007.
Smith has now recorded a point in all 14 games this season but senior midfielder Nick Elsmo had a team-high eight game goal-scoring streak snapped.
Without a big game in goal by Delaware netminder Noah Fossner, the outcome could have been worse. Penn State got off 44 shots with Fossner turning back a season-high 16 of them. Penn State also held a 42-27 advantage in groundballs and had nine less turnovers than the Hens.
“What was really glaring at halftime was that we had 13 turnovers,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw. “You just can’t give a good team like Penn State more opportunities. We just didn’t take care of the ball and shot selection was not good. We have to be more efficient on offense.”
The loss was also a disappointing one due to the fact that a Delaware home field record crowd of 2,621 was on hand to help UD honor those who serve our country as part of Military Appreciation Night. Delaware also honored its 10 seniors prior to the game.
The Nittany Lions put the game away early, outscoring the Hens 3-0 in the first quarter and going up 4-0 deep into the second quarter before Delaware finally got on the board on a goal by Kaleikau with 6:50 left before halftime.
Penn State added another goal by Forster to go up 5-1 at the break and after Delaware opened the second half scoring on a goal by Smith just three minutes in, responded with five straight goals from five different players to put the game away.
Delaware finally broke the string on a goal by Kaminski with 1:24 left in the third quarter, but Penn State’s Ahern scored just five seconds later off the faceoff and Mackrides tallied twice in the final stanza for the final verdict.