Delaware Men's Soccer Advances to CAA Finals as Blue Hens Survive Shootout Against Top Seed James Madison
November 11, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
HARRISONBURG, Va. – Sophomore Chas Wilson had not found the back of the net since the heat of Aug. 26 when the University of Delaware opened its 2011 campaign with a 3-0 win over Massachusetts.
But that didn’t matter on a frosty night in Virginia Friday as the fourth-seeded Blue Hens knocked No. 1 seed and host James Madison out of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, playing to a 2-2 tie over 110 minutes of play and advancing thanks to a 5-4 advantage on penalty kicks.
Wilson (at right), who had played in just nine games this season, delivered the deciding tally.
No stranger to penalty kicks in this tournament, Delaware had advanced to its second straight semifinal appearance after edging Northeastern 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.
Delaware advances to its first conference championship game since 1985 when it was a member of the East Coast Conference. The Hens, then playing for Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame coach Loren Kline, knocked out host Lafayette 1-0 in the semifinals before falling to Hofstra in the program’s legendary eight overtime tilt with the Pride in the title game.
The Hens, now 11-5-4, draw second-seeded and 18th ranked Old Dominion on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for the title game of the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Championships. The Monarchs defeated No. 6 Georgia State 5-3 in the earlier semifinal game.
Sunday’s championship tilt will be played at the JMU Soccer Complex with the winner earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
No. 20 ranked James Madison will hold out strong hopes for an NCAA Tournament at-large invitation.
Delaware, which has advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice in school history, most recently in 1970, will be looking for its first-ever post-season conference tournament championship game victory.
“What a fabulous night for the UD family at JMU,” said Delaware head man Ian Hennessy, who has guided his program to its first-ever CAA Championship game appearance. “It was great to have Bonnie (Kenny) and the volleyball girls support us so vocally against a large and hostile JMU crowd.”
The Delaware volleyball team, which has captured three CAA Tournament titles in the last four years, attended the game after knocking off James Madison earlier in the evening.
Much like the first meeting between these two teams, which ended with James Madison winning 3-2 in overtime, 90 minutes was not enough to decide things. The Hens played heir league-leading ninth overtime contest of the season and second extra period game of the CAA Tournament.
UD required a 4-3 penalty kick advantage on Thursday night over Northeastern to advance to this semifinal matchup.
On Friday vs. JMU, Delaware got its penalty kick goals from Darren O’Connor in the first round, Kyle Nuel, who was initially stopped by the Madison keeper but the ball trickled into the goal in the fourth round, John Dineen in the fifth round, Prince Nartey in the sixth, and eventually Wilson in the eighth and final round.
James Madison (12-4-2) put in four penalty kicks and nearly clinched the contest but the Dukes’ final two shooters, Jason Gannon and Jimmy Simpson, missed on their attempts as Gannon banged the left post and Simpson sailed his shot high.
Blue Hens netminder Kris Devaux made two saves during penalty kicks for the second straight night to assure the Hens' spot in the title game. His stops came in the first and third rounds.
James Madison’s Patrick Innes put the first overtime attempt on goal with four minutes to play in the first extra period, but Delaware’s Devaux came in to make the save on the header.
For the seventh time this season for the Blue Hens, 100 minutes was just not enough as the two squads headed to double overtime, locked at 2-2.
Madison made a charge late in the second overtime as Innes carried the ball into the box before Delaware’s Kyle Ellis made a clean tackle to break up the attempt, setting up a JMU corner. After a scramble in the box, JMU was called for a foul and the Hens cleared the zone with three minutes left on the clock.
Paul Wyatt nearly ended the game with one minute to play, but again it was Devaux making his eighth save of the night to continue the game.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the boys to have played and advanced in two games on the road within a 24-hour span and to have led us to the championship game,” said Hennessy. “It was a great night for the UD family.”
Wilson had the game’s first chance as he tipped a header towards the net with a streaking Kyle Bruno following, but Madison keeper Justin Epperson broke up the play, setting up a corner kick. However, the Dukes’ defense cleared the zone on the ensuing play.
James Madison struck first on a penalty kick with 26:42 left in the first half as Innes converted his second penalty kick of the season to put the Dukes up 1-0. But two minutes later Dineen tallied the answer as he put home his second goal of the year, making good on a pass from Vincent Mediate.
Earlier in the half, Dineen missed a chance for a blast from just outside the box but opted to chip in a pass that was intercepted by Epperson.
Evans Frimpong, the CAA Player of the Year, gave Delaware a 2-1 edge with 8:41 left in the first half as Wilson took a shot that was saved by Epperson. But the rebound got away from the Dukes keeper and Frimpong pushed across his 12th marker of the year and his third against JMU after scoring both Delaware goals in the regular season matchup.
Wilson’s assist was the first time the sophomore logged a point since the season-opening win over Massachusetts.
Delaware took its 2-1 advantage into the halftime break, aided by a 9-6 shot advantage in the first period. Devaux made one save for the Hens while opposite him, Epperson made two stops on UD’s four shots on goal.
Senior midfielder Kyle Ellis had an opportunity to help the Hens pull away with 28 minutes after breaking away from his defender and getting a pass from Roberto Giménez, but Ellis pushed his attempt just left of the goal.
James Madison came back the other way with a challenge as Christian McLaughlin sent in an attempt from 30 yards out, but his shot was met by Devaux, who controlled the ball on a bouncing shot.
Devaux once again was forced to put on an acrobatic show, making a diving, fingertip save on another McLaughlin attempt with 13 minutes to go, preserving the 2-1 Hen lead.
But it was Innes with his second goal of the game with just 8:53 left in regulation that knotted the game 2-2. After getting a clean break away after Karel Manrau sent him a long ball, Innes’ shot was initially saved. But he controlled the rebound and deadlocked the game at 2-2.
In the earlier semifinal game Friday evening, second-seeded Old Dominion held off a late charge from No. 6 Georgia State, taking its spot in the championship game with a 5-3 victory. The Panthers knotted the action at 2-2 in the second half but three Monarch goals proved too much for Georgia State to handle.