Delaware Advances in Tournament Action For First Time Since 1985 with Shootout Win Over Northeastern in CAA Quarterfinals
November 10, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
HARRISONBURG, Va. – Playing in his first-ever post season game, versatile sophomore Prince Nartey put his best foot forward and helped the University of Delaware men's soccer advance for the first time in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
After Delaware and Northeastern battled to a 0-0 tie through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions, the CAA Tournament quarterfinal game went to a shootout round at the James Madison University Soccer Complex.
Nartey, who hails from Accra, Ghana, pushed across the season-advancing goal in the sixth round of penalty kicks as part of three straight goals from the Hens, who got their other three shootout markers from Roberto Giménez, John Dineen and Vincent Mediate.
The No. 4 seed Blue Hens (11-5-3) now advance to the CAA semifinals where they will take on top seed and 20th ranked James Madison Friday night at 7:30 p.m. No. 6 seed Georgia State, which advanced with a 2-1 win over No. 3 William & Mary Thursday, will take on No. 2 seed and 18th ranked Old Dominion in the other semifinal game Friday at 5 p.m.
The victory is Delaware's first post-season win since the Blue Hens downed Lafayette in the 1985 East Coast Conference semifinals.
In the shootout session, Darren O’Connor stepped up first for Delaware, but Husky netminder Oliver Blum made the initial save. But the Hens lucked out as Top Phataraprasit sailed his attempt high on the next attempt.
Mediate put Delaware up 1-0 in the second round after chipping in a tally as Blum dove to his left. Ryan Burham answered for the Huskies and knotted the score at 1-1. Delaware senior Evans Frimpong, the CAA Player of the Year, pushed his shot just over the goal. Northeastern then gained a 2-1 advantage after Laurence Braude scored on his attempt.
But Giménez, the CAA Rookie of the Year, answered back in the fourth round to tie the action at 2-2 and was helped out as senior goalkeeper Kris Devaux (above right) made his first save of the shootout on Northeastern's next attempt.
Dineen stepped up and delivered Delaware’s third shootout goal, only to be answered by Josh Semerene in the fifth round. Delaware once again went up as Nartey knocked in his attempt, moving Delaware ahead 4-3 with the clinching goal. Devaux made two saves in the shootout round, including a sprawling stop with his feet in the sixth and final round.
“Most goalkeepers dream about being in a 0-0 tie going into PKs," said Devaux, who made five saves in the first 110 minutes of action. "You don’t want to let the team down so you do as much as you can and hopefully you come out of there with the win."
The Huskies (10-6-3) applied the pressure early in the first half as they tallied three shots in the opening 10 minutes. Devaux however was up to the task, halting Wilmington, Del. native Dante Marini with a sprawling save in the 11th minute.
The conference’s third-best scoring team, Delaware retaliated in the middle portion of the half, challenging Northeastern Blum once, but putting several attempts near the cage. The Hens showed off their technical ability in the opening stanza, making foot-to-foot passes.
Northeastern held the offensive advantage in the first half, outshooting the Hens 8-3, putting half of their attempts on goal. Devaux was there the whole way, turning away four Husky attempts to keep the first 45 minutes scoreless.
Delaware came out firing in the second half as Giménez tipped a shot that just nicked the pipe, keeping the score locked at zeroes. Gimenez had an opportunity four minutes later as Frimpong sent him a pass, but the shot was blocked.
Through the first 15 minutes of the second half, Delaware eliminated the 8-3 Husky shot advantage, outshooting Northeastern 8-1.
Continuing to apply the pressure, Dineen turned a header that forced Blum back on his heels, nearly stumbling into the goal with the ball in hand. Blum kept himself out of the goal and played the ball out for an Northeastern counter in the 75th minute.
The Hens had an opportunity late with just 2:16 left to play as Giménez was hauled down just outside the box. On the ensuing free position, the Spanish forward put a blast through the wall but Blum was there, making a diving save to his left, keeping the slate clean.
With the score knotted at 0-0, Delaware was forced to head to its league-leading eighth overtime.
Delaware shored up its defense in the second half, allowing the Huskies just one shot the entire 45 minutes, while the Hens managed to put 11 attempts into play, including four on goal. But Blum brought his game total to five saves while Devaux remained steady with four stops.
“We’ve struggled in the first half of the last four or five games,” said head coach Ian Hennessy, who helped guide his team to its second-straight conference tournament semifinal berth. “I don’t know what it is in the first half. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it seems like when our backs are against the wall we come alive.”
Giménez once again was thwarted by Blum in overtime on a set piece, pushing a shot to the left post where Blum again made a save.
With 3:35 to go in the first overtime period, Delaware's Kyle Nuel had a golden opportunity, but misfired his wide open shot into the chest of Blum, waiting in the center of the cage. With neither team able to find the net, Delaware went to its sixth double overtime of the season.
With 6:14 left in the second overtime, Ricardo McDonald was given an immediate red card after attempting to play a ball Devaux cradled in. The Hens carried a man advantage throughout the remainder of the game.
In the earlier quarterfinal matchup, Georgia State pulled out a stunner, knocking off No. 3 William & Mary, the defending CAA champion, 2-1. The sixth-seeded Panthers (13-6-1), who are playing in their first-ever CAA tournament, advanced to semifinals and will face No. 2 seed Old Dominion.
All five games of the CAA Tournament are being played at James Madison’s Soccer/Lacrosse Complex. The remaining four teams are all vying for the league’s ever-important automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.