Emotional Delaware Squad Upends No. 9 Drexel in CAA

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware men's lacrosse squad capped an emotional week by putting in a big effort Wednesday night, using a seven-goal second quarter that propelled the Blue Hens to a 15-12 victory over No. 9 ranked Drexel in a Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinal game at Delaware Stadium.

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.

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."

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2010-05-06



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