Delaware Upends #8 Hofstra in CAA Semifinals

Hofstra had two shots to tie the contest after Delaware turned the ball over following Lincoln's goal. Braddish fired a bullet with 24 seconds to play that Fossner stopped with his knee and Ford fired wide with 13 seconds remaining. The Pride got the ball back after Card checked Fossner into a turnover but could not get off a shot on goal as time expired.

Hofstra outshot the Blue Hens, 38-29 in the game including 27-15 in the second half. The Pride also picked up 36 ground balls to Delaware's 33. The Blue Hens handed Hofstra both of its losses this season, downing the Pride, 7-6 in Newark, Delaware on March 19.

The Pride will be looking for their fourth consecutive NCAA Championship bid when the field is announced Sunday night. It would be Hofstra's 17th NCAA appearance.

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- University of Delaware is headed back to the Colonial Athletic Association championship game.

The defending CAA champion Blue Hens jumped out to a three-goal lead early in the final quarter and then held off No. 8 ranked and top-seeded Hofstra in a frantic final minute to walk away with a 10-9 victory in the CAA semifinals Wednesday night at Shuart Stadium.

The victory sends the No. 4 seed Blue Hens (10-6) into the CAA  championship game Saturday night when they will travel to No. 3 seed and 19th-ranked Massachusetts to take on the Minutemen at 7:00 p.m. in Amherst, Mass. UMass (10-4) knocked off third-seeded and 20th ranked Penn State 10-9 in overtime Wednesday night. The winner of that game earns an automatic berth into the 16-team NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Hens entered the post-season reeling after falling to Penn State 13-3 and Massachusetts 11-5 in the final two games of the regular season. They bounced back at just the right time.

"Our guys just decided to start with a clean slate," said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, who picked up his 298th career victory and will now lead the Hens into the CAA title game for the fifth time since 2005. "We went into this game thinking we had nothing to lose and everything to gain and would just go hard and see what happens. We made some adjustments since our last game and we were successful tonight. It was a competitive and hard-fought game that came down to the final seconds. It was a fantastic win."

Delaware's leading scorer Eric Smith recorded three goals to notch his second hat trick of the season and extend his point-scoring streak to 16 games, junior Grant Kaleikau matched a career-high with five assists, and Kevin Kaminski, playing in his school-record tying 69th career game, added two goals to lead the Blue Hens. Noah Fossner recorded 11 saves, including a huge stop with 23 seconds left that preserved the victory.

"We came in here with a great gameplan," said Kaleikau, who leads the  Blue Hens with 25 assists this season. "Our guys were really cutting hard and I was able to find them. We really played well tonight."

Kevin Ford led Hofstra with five goals while Jamie Lincoln scored twice and Stephen Bentz and Ian Braddish each dished out two assists. Hofstra had entered the game ranked second in the CAA in scoring offense, netting 10.3 goals per game.

"Hofstra has an unbelievable offense," said Shillinglaw. "To hold them to only nine goals is quite an accomplishment. Noah did a great job in the cage tonight."

Hofstra (13-2), which captured the CAA title in 2006 and 2008, lost for only the second time this season, both times to the Blue Hens, who knocked off the Pride 7-6 back on March 19 at Delaware Stadium. The Pride lost for the first in eight games and had its 15-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation at the NCAA Division I level, also come to an end.

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2011-05-04



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