April 8, 2011

Tough Defense Leads Delaware Over Hofstra

from press release

NEWARK, Del. -- On a cold, rainy evening at Delaware Stadium, Kateri Linville collected her first Colonial Athletic Association win as the head women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Delaware. Utilizing lockdown defense in the second half, the Blue Hens knocked off Hofstra University 7-6 on Friday night.

The Blue Hens improved to 6-6 overall this season, and moved to 1-1 in the CAA, while the Pride, coming off of a 10-9 win over No. 17 Notre Dame, slipped to 4-6 overall and 0-1 in the league.

“This team has the passion to win,” said Linville of her squad’s fourth win in their last five games. “This team is fearless, but the players also have the confidence in the team as a whole to win.”

Holly Burman (at right) netted the eventual gamewinner on an odd play, as she was fouled by Pride netminder Jackie Pandolf inside the eight-meter arc. Burman took advantage of the open net to assure the Hens the victory.

Delaware had six goals from different Hens, with senior attacker Julianna Jeffers (bottom left) as the lone multiple goal scorer with a pair. Senior Corrine Drost, the team’s points leader, scored her 23rd goal of the season, while sophomore Morgan Leonard tallied her 19th. Freshmen Bridget Burns and Chelsa Fay each chipped in a goal.

The Pride’s offense was also paced by just one multiple goal scorer, Claire Brady, who notched two goals. Hofstra also got goals from Jennalee Trombley, Jackie Arolino, Alex Mezzanotte and Lindsay McKinnon.

Hofstra jumped out to an early three-goal advantage, but the Blue Hens stormed right back and pulled within one.

The Pride picked up three goals from three different players as Brady and Trombley scored and Ardolino netted a free position goal.

Delaware answered with back-to-back goals from Jeffers and Fay. The marker was Jeffers 20th of the year while Fay tallied her ninth.

Hofstra regained a two-goal lead, 4-2 as Brady scored her second of the evening with 1:55 left in the opening stanza.

But the Hens had the last laugh as Bridget Burns, named CAA Co-Rookie of the Week on Monday, found the back of the net one last time in the first half to send Delaware into the break, down just 3-4.

Athlete photoThe Blue Hen defense was strong in the second half, allowing Hofstra, a team that averages 9.8 goals per game, just two goals the entire 30 minutes.  Delaware posted four goals in the second half to sew up the victory.

“Our defense came up with lots of groundballs and we chipped away at the lead one goal at a time,” said Delaware goalkeeper Makenzie Worthington, who logged seven saves.

The Hens scored their second-straight as Leonard dropped in the game-tying goal at 21:20 of the second half.

Drost extended her scoring streak to 13 games, dating back to the 2010 season finale versus Drexel, the Hens’ next opponent. Drost’s goal gave Delaware it’s first lead of the evening with 19:44 left on the clock.  Delaware will face the Dragons on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Vidas Field in CAA action.

Hofstra stopped Delaware’s run at three goals, Lindsey McKinnon tied things for the second time in the game, finishing a pass from Mezzanotte at 16:18.

After just over five scoreless minutes, Jeffers broke the tie and put Delaware back on top 6-5 with 10:58 left in the game. Burman scored the seventh Blue Hen marker of the evening on her empty net shot.

Down but not out, Hofstra’s offense rallied one last time to climb back within one with 55 seconds left in the game, snapping scoreless draught of nearly 16 minutes. Mezzanote registered her second point of the night with Hofstra’s sixth goal to pull within one point of the lead.

But the Blue Hens midfielders proved to be too much for Hofstra to handle, as Fay picked up the ensuing draw control and moved the ball to the offensive third to secure the win.

“We started a little slow tonight, but we focused on the basics and worked on tough situations in practice this week,” said Jeffers, who helped guide her team to its second straight come from behind effort. Delaware clawed its way back into its last game, down three goals versus Towson to force overtime.

The Pride held a 23-21 advantage in shots, but Delaware dominated the groundballs, picking up 22 to Hofstra’s 15, including 13 Hen groundballs in the second half. Worthington picked up a game-high six, followed closely by teammate Gracie Will’s four.

Delaware won nine of the 15 draw controls, including two each by Leonard and Kalyn McDonough.

In the wet and rainy conditions, both teams had some trouble in transition. Delaware gained the offensive zone on 13 of its 18 attempts, while the Pride went 13-of-16. The Hens went a perfect eight-for-eight in the first half.

A big factor on offense for Delaware was free position shooting, where the Hens went two-for-four, while the Pride managed to score just once on six attempts.

“ Mat Faas and Kristin Hopson, two of my assistants, did a great job in coaching the defense,” said Linville of her team’s defense coaches. The Hens allow just nine goals per outing and have not had an opponent hit double-digits in the last five games.

Delaware will look to continue that streak on Sunday against the Dragons. It will be the Hens’ first road game since traveling to Penn State on March 12.

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