February 3, 2012

Delaware Opens Season Against Detroit Mercy

from press release

- The University of Delaware, coming off back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, will once again kickoff the collegiate men's lacrosse season Saturday afternoon and this year a special milestone could be in order.

The Blue Hens, ranked No. 19 in the pre-season USILA Coaches poll, will take part in the season's first men's lacrosse game as has been the team's tradition over the last decade as Delaware plays host to Detroit Mercy at 1 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.

Highlighting the opener will be Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw looking to make history by winning the 300th game of his career.

Shillinglaw, now in his 37th collegiate season as a head coach, including his 34th with the Blue Hens, enters the game with a career record of 299-264. He needs just one win to become only the third active NCAA Division I head coach to reach that milestone and only the eighth coach in the history of college men's lacrosse to equal the mark.

Georgetown's Dave Urick leads all active NCAA Division I head coaches with 338 victories while current Virginia boss Dom Starsia ranks second in 329 victories. Denver's Bill Tierney and Duke's John Danowski each enter the 2012 season tied with Shillinglaw with 299 victories.

Delaware, which went 11-7 a year ago in winning the CAA title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2005, has won nine straight seasons openers, including a 13-5 win over Detroit Mercy last season at Delaware Stadium.

The Hens, who return 77 percent of their offensive output from a year ago, have one of the nation's premier attackman in senior Grant Kaleikau, who tied for the team lead with 45 points with 15 goals and 30 assists in 2011. Sean Finegan (21 goals) and Nick Diachenko (18 goals) add to the offense while Connor Fitzgerald and Tim Langmaid pace the defensive unit. All-CAA performer Dan Cooney ranks among the top faceoff specialists in the nation.

Detroit Mercy, coming off a record of 6-10 a year ago, was selected to capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title in the league pre-season coaches poll. The Titans are led by defenders Jordan Houtby and Jamie Hebden and by goalkeeper AJ Levell. Shayne Adams (35 goals) returns after leading the team in scoring a year ago.

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