Delaware Has Three-Game Win Streak Snapped as Blue Hens Fall to #16 Penn State 13-9
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The University of Delaware men’s lacrosse squad saw its three game win streak - and its post-season tournament hopes - vanish Saturday night as host and No. 16 ranked Penn State pulled away over the final eight minutes to post a 13-9 Colonial Athletic Association victory at Jeffrey Field.
Two-time defending CAA champion Delaware (6-8, 1-4, CAA), which had won each of its last two games by double digits, needed a win to stay in contention for one of four berths in the upcoming CAA Tournament but could not pull off the win after cutting a second half Penn State lead to just one goal with 11:26 left to play.
The Hens will close out the season next Friday, Apr. 27, when they host top-ranked and undefeated Massachusetts (12-0) at 7 p.m.
Delaware’s Carter Bloor scored with 11:26 left to play to pull the Hens to within 10-9, but Penn State (8-5, 4-1 CAA) held the Hens scoreless the rest of the way and added some insurance with two goals from Tom LaCrosse and one from Shane Sturgis to pull away.
Blue Hen senior attackman Grant Kaleikau (at right) led the Blue Hens with three goals while Nick Diachenko scored twice and dished out an assist and John Austin, coming off consecutive hat tricks in big wins over Mercer and Saint Joseph’s, added two goals. Goalkeeper Brett Anton recorded 10 saves but lost for the firsts time in his career. Kaleikau extended his point-scoring streak to 17 straight games dating back to last season.
Sturgis led the Nittany Lions with four goals and two assists while Matthew Mackrides and LaCrosse each scored three goals with Mackrides also dishing out an assist. Gavin Ahern chipped in with two goals and an assist. Penn State outshot the Hens 37-24 and held a 29-22 advantage in groundballs
The teams traded goals throughout the first half with Delaware taking a 5-4 lead with 5:33 left in the half when Austin and Diachenko scored consecutive goals. Mackrides ended the Hens’ streak with a goal with 3:03 left before the Hens went up again at 6-5 on a tally by Diachenko with 1:45 left. The Nittany Lions tied the game at 6-6 on a goal by Ahern.
Penn State came out strong in the second half to take control as the Nittany Lions scored the first three goals of the second half to take a 9-6 lead. But the Hens would not go away and mounted a comeback of their own. Kaleikau scored with 2:29 left in the third quarter to stop the Penn State run and minutes later Tom Holland and Bloor back to back goals to cut the PSU advantage to 10-9.
But that was as close as the Hens would get as LaCrosse scored for Penn State with 7:32 left and Sturgis followed with another goal at the 4:04 mark to give PSU some breathing room.