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Collegiate men: An emotional Delaware downs Drexel, 15-12, in CAA semifinals

Wednesday, 5th May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/5/10
From Press Releases
and Staff Report by David A. Willauer

An emotional Delaware squad used a seven-goal second quarter to spark a 15-12 victory over Drexel Wednesday night in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals.

Sophomore Grant Kaleikau scored his first career hat trick and dished out an assist, senior All-American Curtis Dickson continued his season-long scoring binge with three more goals, and junior goalkeeper Noah Fossner, playing just three days after the death of his mother, registered 14 saves to lead the No. 2 seed Blue Hens to their fourth straight victory.

Delaware (9-6) will now head to top-seed and No. 20 ranked Towson for the CAA Championship game Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Towson, Md. The Tigers advanced with a 13-6 victory over No. 4 seed and No. 16 ranked Massachusetts Wednesday night in the other semifinal game. Saturday’s winner will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

“This was one of the most emotional nights I’ve been through as a head coach,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, who coached his NCAA record 543rd career game in his 35th season. “We have such a close team and we were so excited to play tonight. It was a special moment. This week was an emotional one (with Noah’s mother passing away), but this team just keeps getting tighter and tighter and bonding together. We are playing well at the right time and hopefully we can keep things going.”

The game was played before a spirited crowd of 1,305, many of them dressed in pink to support Fossner and honor his mother, Elaine, who passed away Sunday after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Delaware players and members of the coaching staff wore pink shoelaces and pink wristbands to show their support.

“I don’t remember much of the game tonight,” said Fossner, a junior from Niskayuna, N.Y. who set the tone early with several big saves in the first quarter on the way to a save total that was just one shy of his season high. “The night was about our team, but it was also a salute to my mom. I think she was looking down and was proud of what we did. It was a great night.”

Kaleikau finished with four points on three goals and an assist, Dickson upped his NCAA?leading goal total to 57 with his 11th hat trick of the season, and Martin Cahill, Carter Bloor, and Anthony Ruiz also chipped in with two goals apiece while longstick midfielder Taylor Burns had a goal and two assists.

Dickson, a Tewaaraton Trophy candidate as the national player of the year, has now scored a goal in 24 straight games and a point in 55 straight contests and his season goal total of 57 is tied for the second highest in school history and the longest since Don Swan set the UD standard with 65 in 1951.

“We started the game off very slow in the first half but in the second half we looked for our spots and knocked in a couple of early goals,” aid Dickson. “The momentum started shifting our way and we took some shots against the top goalie in the nation in Mark Manos (Salesianum).”

Drexel, the tournament No. 3 seed, lost to the Blue Hens for the second time in two weeks after falling to Delaware by a 10-6 score back on Apr. 24. The Dragons, who entered the game ranked among the national leaders in scoring defense, allowed a season-high 15 goals, including four of the man-up variety. Robert Church led the Dragons with three goals and three assists while Ryan West and Kevin Stockel each netted two goals. Drexel lost despite a 44-32 advantage in shot, a 38-31 margin in groundballs, and a 20-9 advantage on faceoffs.

“We held tight defensively and forced some turnovers which was big for us tonight,” said Shillinglaw, who will be looking to lead the Hens to their second CAA?title in four years and to their 15th league title in his 32-year tenure at Delaware. “Our man-down defense was great, our man-up offense was excellent and was the key to the game, and Noah was great in the cage.”

Delaware jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first four minutes of play but Drexel stormed back by scoring five straight goals by five different players to grab a 5-2 advantage. Delaware’s Bloor scored his first goal with 1:27 left to snap a the Dragon streak and Ruiz and Kaleikau scored the first two goals of the second stanza to knot the score at 5-5.

Church scored his first goal with 11:36 left in the half to give Drexel a 6-5 lead, but the Blue Hens responded by scoring five straight goals, including back-to-back man-up goals by Cahill in a span of three minutes, as part of a seven-goal stanza. Delaware took a 10-6 lead into the break.

The Hens led the rest of the way but had to hold off a late Drexel rally to do so. Four straight goals by Delaware’s Ruiz, Dickson, Kaleikau, and Bloor pushed the Blue Hen lead to 14-7 after three quarters, but Drexel scored the first four goals of the final stanza, including two by Stockel, to cut the deficit to 14-11 with 10:05 left to play.

But Delaware regrouped, got a man-up goal from Nick Elsmo with 8:29 left to play, and never let Drexel get closer than three goals the rest of the way.


Scoring Summary:
Drexel – Robert Church, 3 goals, 3 assists; Kevin Stockel, 2-2; Ryan West, 2-0; Nick Trizano, 1-1; Scott Perri, 1-0; Colin Ambler, 1-0; Adam Dennis, 1-0; Kyle Bergmann, 1-0.
Delaware – Grant Kaleikau, 3-1; Curtis Dickson, 3-0; Anthony Ruiz, 2-1; Martin Cahill, 2-0; Carter Bloor, 2-0; Taylor Burns, 1-2; Matt Stefurak, 1-0; Nick Elsmo, 1-0; Dan Cooney, 0-1; Eric Smith, 0-1; D.J. Widlake, 0-1.

Shots: Drexel – 44, Delaware – 32; Groundballs: Drexel – 38, Delaware – 31; Faceoffs: Drexel – 20, Delaware – 9; Clears: Drexel – 11 of 13, Delaware – 17 of 18; Extra Man Goals: Drexel – 2 for 5, Delaware – 4 for 6; Penalties: Drexel – 6 for 6:00; Delaware – 5 for 3:00; Saves: Drexel – 5 (Mark Manos, 58:52 min., 15 goals, 5 saves; Matt Miller, 1:08, 0 goals, 0 saves), Delaware – 14 (Noah Fossner); Turnovers: Drexel – 15, Delaware – 12; Attendance:?1,305.

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