Blue Hens Look to Keep Post Season Hopes Alive with Three-Game Homestand
October 26, 2010
NEWARK, Del. -- This late in the soccer season, the University of Delaware men’s team could not be in a better position to keep its playoff aspirations alive. With eight points in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, the Blue Hens are still within striking distance of the ever-important fourth place spot.
The Hens (3-8-3, 2-4-2) take on the Tigers of Towson University on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Delaware Mini Stadium. Fans unable to attend the game can follow the action through a live statistical feed.
“Tomorrow’s game is a huge one for the program. We are facing a team that has the best scoring record in the CAA and like our selves, are chasing a playoff spot,” said UD head coach Ian Hennessy of Wednesday’s contest. “These are the types of games that good players yearn for, that require little outside motivation.”
William & Mary leads the way with 19 points, followed by VCU, UNC Wilmington and Georgia State with 13. George Mason, Old Dominion and Hofstra create a logjam with 11 points, while Drexel and Northeastern have nine points. Wednesday’s game will be a battle for survival as Delaware and Towson each have eight points, followed by James Madison’s seven.
Delaware kept its hopes alive last week, picking up a point on the road at George Mason for the first time on Wednesday, and fought hard at William & Mary, ranked No. 14 in last week’s TopDrawerSoccer.com poll, but fell 2-1 Saturday night.
The Hens offense is an unselfish one, with nine different players scoring goals. Evans Frimpong and Jon Scheer lead the way, each posting three goals. Frimpong has the edge in points (7) with one assist. Kyle Ellis is tied with Scheer, each recording six points. Ellis has one goal but handed out four assists.
Delaware’s netminders, Kris Devaux and Brandon Paul will have their work cut out for them. Towson is the conference’s top scoring offense, scoring 33 goals, averging 2.36 per game. On 12 occasions this season, the Tigers have scored two or more goals.
“I am looking for those same good players to step forward in our game and take us a step closer to creating a little bit of history in making the CAA playoffs,” said Hennessy.
The Tigers (8-4-2, 2-4-2) make the quick trip, just 55 miles from Towson, Md. to Newark, coming off of a 2-2 draw at UNC Wilmington this past Saturday. Joe O’Rouke and Marco Mangione each tallied a goal, with Olakunle Banjo earning both assists.
Locking down Mangione will be the key to a Blue Hen victory, as he leads the conference in points (27) on 10 goals and seven assists, averaging a league-best 1.93 points per game. Banjo is second on the team and third in the conference with 18 points (9g 8a).
The two teams have met 29 times since the first meeting in 1979, and have played at least once every year since 1984. The Tigers hold a 25-2-2 advantage in the series. The last time Delaware won was a 2-1 victory in overtime during the 1997 season. The Tigers and Blue Hens played to a 3-3 time in 2005.
In the 2009 edition of the game, the Tigers took the win 1-0 at Towson. Mangione scored the lone goal in the contest, finding the back of the net in the 48th minute of the match.
“We have 3 games left, all at home and if we win out I feel that the conference is so strong this year that other programs will end up cancelling each other out,” said Hennessy of the CAA, which has seven teams in the top 60 of this week’s RPI. “I hope we get some support for what promises to be a good game of soccer.”
The Hens continue their home stand on Saturday when they host UNC Wilmington followed by the final game of the regular season on Nov. 7 when Delaware plays host to VCU. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. at Delaware Mini Stadium.