Blue Hens Advance To First Final Four Ever

Blue Hens Advance To First Final Four Ever

Blue Hens Advance To First Final Four Ever

Blue Hens Advance To First Final Four Ever

Delaware Release:

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- The University of Delaware men’s lacrosse squad continued to make history Sunday as the Blue Hens, behind three goals each from senior midfielders Jordan Hall and Dan Deckelbaum (at right), once again dominated the second half and moved on to a 10-6 victory over No. 13 UMBC in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals at Navy’s Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

No. 15 ranked Delaware, playing in the quarterfinals for just the third time in school history, broke away from a 3-3 halftime deadlock by scoring four of the first five goals of the second half and posting its seventh straight victory.

The wins moves Delaware (13-5) into the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history as the Blue Hens will meet No. 3 seed and fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins (11-4) in the semifinals Saturday, May 26 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

No. 4 seed and top-ranked Cornell (15-0) will play top seed and No. 2 ranked Duke (16-2) in the other semifinal contest with both games being televised live on ESPN2. Duke advanced with a 19-11 win over North Carolina Sunday at Navy. The championship game will be played Monday afternoon, May 28 in Baltimore with the game being broadcast live on ESPN.

“This is such a special moment for our program and the University of Delaware,” said 29th-year head coach Bob Shillinglaw, whose team also made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1984, 1999, and 2005 prior to this season. “Our coaches and our team have put in a lot of time and effort and it’s great to see these guys accomplish something like this. Hopefully this is a big steppingstone for our program. We just seem to keep playing at another level. We had some concerns in the first half but we didn’t panic and we settled down. This is a such a great group because they all seem to be playing on the same wavelength. Th

The Blue Hens, who also won their sixth straight game away from home, continued their dominant play in second half play in post season. Delaware outscored defending national champion Virginia 7-1 in the second half in last week’s 14-8 first round victory and outscored UMBC 7-3 in the final 30 minutes Sunday. In four post-season games, including Colonial Athletic Association Tournament wins over Drexel and Towson, the Hens have outscored foes 26-11 in the second half.

Deckelbaum, who also dished out an assist, recorded his fifth hat trick of the season and the ninth of his career while Hall, who also added an assist, posted his fourth hat trick of the year and seventh of his career and extended his point-scoring streak to 30 straight games. Adam Zuder-Havens and Curtis Dickson each added two goals and J.J. Moran dished out two assists to lead the Blue Hen offense.

All-American Alex Smith, the NCAA leader in faceoffs, had an assist and won 12 of 19 and set his seventh NCAA record by upping his season attempts total to 415, breaking the record of 406 by Justin Berry of Towson in 2001. Goalkeeper Tommy Scherr posted six saves.

UMBC, which advanced to the quarterfinals with a 13-9 win over No. 7 seed Maryland last week, had won seven of its last eight games but fell to 11-6 on the season. Drew Westervelt led the Retriever offense with two goals and two assists while Andy Gallagher added a goal and an assist. UMBC was also making its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

“We are really proud about the way we are playing right now,” said Hall, a native of Surrey, British Columbia. “This is a big honor for Coach Shillinglaw. There have been some great teams here at Delaware and its nice to be able to say our team accomplished something like this. “

Delaware scored the first goal of the game as Hall scored off a feed from Deckelbaum just 1:45 in, but UMBC reeled off three straight goals with Westervelt scoring once and dishing out assists on the other two. Two of the goals were man-up scores, including one with Delaware’s Rob Smith serving a three-minute penalty due to an illegal stick.

But the Blue Hens recovered and scored the final two goals of the half to send the game deadlocked at 3-3 into halftime. Deckelbaum scored off a feed from Moran with 8:36 left in the half and Hall tallied with just 23 seconds left to knot the score.

Zuder-Havens scored just under three minutes into the third quarter to give Delaware the lead but UMBC came back to tie the game for the third time as Alex Hopmann scored with 8:13 left in the half.

Delaware then took control to put the game away as Deckelbaum scored two goals 3:34 apart in the third quarter to increase the lead to 6-4 and Hall scored his third goal of the game off a feed from Chris Hichborn to up the margin to 7-4 with 12:22 left to play.

UMBC cut the lead to 7-5 on a goal by Westervelt with 11:53 left to play, but the Hens wasted little time getting the ball back. Smith won the ensuing faceoff, raced to the goal and fed Dickson for a goal just six seconds later to increase the lead to 8-5. Zuder-Havens added some insurance as he scored his second goal, the 50th of his career, with 6:49 left and Dickson scored again with 5:15 left to put the game away.

Game Notes....Delaware broke a 9-9 tie in the all-time series with UMBC, winning for the second straight time (Delaware won the last meeting 11-10 in 1994)...the game was played in front of a crowd of 10,438, the fourth largest quarterfinal crowd in NCAA history....Delaware has never defeated Johns Hopkins in five tries all-time, including a 10-3 win by Hopkins in the NCAA quarterfinals in 1984 in the last meeting....Hopkins has outscored Delaware 84-34 in the five meetings, an average win margin of 10.0 per game...Delaware has now scored 10 or more goals in seven straight games, the longest streak for the Blue Hens since a streak of 10 straight games in 1999...Alex Smith also owns NCAA records for faceoffs won in a season (304 in 2007) and career (1,020), faceoffs taken in a season (415 this season) and career (1,469), groundballs in a career (552), and faceoff win pct. in a game (21 for 21 vs. Manhattan in 2006)....Deckelbaum now has 96 career points on 76 goals and 20 assists...Delaware will the only team in the Final Four that has never appeared in the national semifinals....Johns Hopkins, which has won eight national titles, Cornell, which has won three national crowns, and Duke, the 2005 NCAA runner-up, have combined for 37 semifinal appearances.

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    by (#136419) on 5/20/07 @2:37PM
Congratulations Blue Hens and Bob Shillinglaw on going to your 1st Final Four ever! I have met Bob Shillinglaw before and he is such a nice person! Good luck to the Blue Hens!

So it will be Hopkins vs. Delaware! I think it could be a good game. However, I think that the Blue Jays will advance for a few reasons. First of all, the Hopkins players and coaches have plenty of Final Four experience, while the Delaware players and coaches have none. So the Blue Jays have a serious edge in experience. Secondly, since the game is played in Baltimore, chances are that Hopkins will have many more fans than Delaware, giving them some home field advantage. Thirdly, although Delaware will be hungry for more respect and to keep going, the Blue Jays will be just as hungry. They want to get back to the title game after not even making the Final Four last season for the 1st time in 5 years. Although Delaware has talent, Hopkins has more. Although Delaware has good senior leadership, so does Hopkins. Although Delaware is peaking, so is Hopkins. Some people might call Delaware the "UMASS of this Season." The Blue Hens have surprised many people with this Cinderella run. However, one must remember that, to make the title game last year, UMASS beat Maryland and Dave Cottle, who is not known to do well in big games, especially as the favorite. The Blue Hens will have to get past Hopkins and Pietramala, who is doing as good a job as anyone right now. Therefore, I say:


However, if Delaware wins, which could definitely happen, good for them! I think it would be the best thing to happen in lacrosse for quite some time.

What are all your predictions?
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    by (#136419) on 5/20/07 @2:40PM
I don't think a face-off guy has ever won it, but Alex has done so much for his team and may be the best ever. Should we consider him as a possibility?
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Alex Smith
    by (#134841) on 5/25/07 @6:41PM
Alex Smith can't win the tewaaraton because the 5 finalists were already named. They were Max Seibald, Paul Rabil, Matt Danowski, Frank Resetarits, and Ben Rubeor.
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blue hens free pass into final four
    by (#169563) on 5/20/07 @10:19PM
U Del got free pass into the final four. Towson and Delaware were easily the worst teams in the remaining 8 teams... had they both been matched up against cornell and Albany this would be Albany's first entrance to the final four. The match up made for two interesting games, however the matchups would have been better in the championship game had they given it some thought. Congratulations to delaware but this was a questionable call.
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    by (#136419) on 5/20/07 @10:52PM
Delaware had to beat UVA in the 1st Round just to get to the Quarterfinals. And very few people gave the Blue Hens much of a chance against a much more talented UVA team. However, Delaware got it done. Maybe UMBC wasn't a super team, but they beat a very solid Maryland team in the 1st Round. Don't forget that Delaware beat Towson in the CAA Title Game to get an automatic bid. You can't give Delaware and Bob Shillinglaw any more credit than they deserve!

Even if Delaware doesn't beat Hopkins, it will be a season to remember for the University of Delaware forever.
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(no subject)
    by (#156944) on 5/23/07 @9:34PM
free pass? c'monn now virginia 2006 national champs..UMBC wasnt bad either. IF the blue hens play the way have been playing since the CAA championships they have a great shot at winning this game versus hopkins. Their defense has been great while alex smith has been able to control the ball for the O. screw all the haters D-ware is puttin it to the blue gays!
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    by (#139861) on 5/21/07 @9:04AM
Yeah amen dude. Quite the contrary I would say naptown, lacrosse chicks I think are usually kinda ugly. I'm a fan of tennis and soccer girls myself.
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give it a rest..
    by (#36335) on 5/20/07 @11:58PM
calm down, way too much input today.
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i predict
    by (#168201) on 5/21/07 @3:56PM
i predict a blood bath.....hopkins is gunna rip the hens apart! wow..the jays couldt have gotten an easyer game
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no way
    by (#134864) on 5/22/07 @12:37PM
MADlaxer17 it's gonna be close it's hard to score when u can't win a face off, they did beat UVA who I think is a better team then the hop, alex smith can control the tempo of the game
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    by (#136419) on 5/22/07 @3:27PM
Take nothing away from Delaware-they played great against UVA and deserved to win. But I have a feeling that UVA went into that game overconfident. And who could blame them? They had so much more talent, played a much tougher schedule, and were at home. And Delaware didn't have many quality wins and, had they not won the CAA Tournament, might not have made the tournament. Also, other than Alex Smith, Delaware has solid players, but no one super heralded.

Even if UVA had not come in overconfident, Delaware still might have won. However, I can tell people one thing. Hopkins is not going to come in overconfident against Delaware. After missing the Final Four last year, they are hungry to get back to the title game. And Hopkins knows that Delaware slaughtered UVA, a team that beat them this season.

I am not saying Delaware can't win, but they will be playing a more talented team in Hopkins who won't be looking a second past this game. That is why, IMHO, if Delware pulls the upset, it will be that much more impressive
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This weekend predictions :
    by (#57798) on 5/22/07 @3:59PM

Cornell v. Duke - The Blue Devils have the lacrosse world routing for them to win it all and send the game ball to a soon to be Ex DA - Mike Niflong. As we all know this will be the best game of the tournament and should be considered the finals (great brackets selection committee). I think Danowski should have a big game, which will lead him to seal up the Tewaaraton Trophy and for the Blue Devils to make the finals.

Delaware v. Johns Hopkins The battle of the birds. I like to see UD pull this one off. Delaware will need an early lead and then run a stall/settled offence. Similar to what they did last weekend, but smarter, with shot selection, and they will have to avoid their junior lacrosse instincts of running into double teams. They do have the best face off guy in the game, but if they dont have decent lead (2-4 goals), then you are playing catch up, and Smith is useless

I want to see blue final - the fighting Blue hens v. the Blue devils. This is Dukes year and they will bring the trophy back to Durham County.
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not bad
    by (#103345) on 5/22/07 @6:27PM
pretty good predictions.
yeah, i think that duke will beat cornell for a couple of reasons, one being that cornell hasn't been to the final four for awhile, and haven't had too much experience in big games this year. Also, as everyone has said, duke will be hungry after last year, and after coming sooooo close two years ago.
Not to mention that traditionally playoff remathes haven't been kind to the winner of the regular season game.
Alex Smith will give the jays a ton of problems, i'm thinking that they might try and use Koesterer to bully him, but they do have two good face-off men in peyser and koesterer.
But i think that if schwartzman and the defense plays like they did last week, that the hens will be in serious trouble, face-offs or not. The jays have also had a lot of experience playing vs. a slow-down offense this year, many teams have tried in the hopes of pulling the upset.
If both those hold up, im calling a close final that could go either way, but duke having the edge. I think that jhu would play a lot better than they did in the reg. season, and that it would come down to the final seconds, or OT, but i think duke would pull it off.
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i dunno
    by (#143077) on 5/23/07 @12:21AM
of course im a little biased as a Cornell fan, but i can definately see them pulling it off.

The two teams are soo even and similar in the style of play, and it definately was showing during the UNC game for Duke, and the Albany game for Cornell that they both start off slow.

This game is gonna go to the team who plays out the first half, i think Cornell is a better 2nd half team, they get into the motions and make big plays, but Duke definately showed they can turn a deficit at half time into a huge lead (UNC).

I think in the last game at Albany Cornell discovered where their real strong faceoff and set motions are, and i think we might see seibald at the faceoff X more in the first half.

Both teams have incredibly strong attack lines, but even though Quinzani is such a good player, i think he is still the weakest link on the attack line and he isn't played too as much as the Mitchell-Pittard-Bartlett trio, who seem to be on an even level.

Also i think that Duke's middies might be their weak point, even though they can shoot and they can do transition, UNC brought out some real flaws in their. They just ran right by them half the time, almost effortlessly, but didn't create much on the slide or cuts. I think Cornell will capitalize on that with middies like Seibald, Glynn, and Clayton who can run and dodge and then feed a good cut or draw the slide.

It's gonna be close, and can go either way, i just think Cornell might just have that extra depth, not to mention how pissed off they'll be, looking to take back their #1 spot from Duke.

Also, i don't want to hear Duke's story again if they make it to the final, saying it 5 or 6 times a game by the announcers is just too much. (Not that I don't care, in fact i'm glad they're back with respect, maybe they just need a new video clip for the game)
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    by (#142595) on 5/23/07 @9:36PM
apparently dukes 06 team members will all be given a extra year of eligibilty. They need to constantly repeat the story during the final four with the espn audience listening , its just kinda clears the name of the sport a little bit more when the whole nation hears it. annoying as it may be because we all know , other people might not and it can only help.
I think goalie play will be the difference in the Duke/ cornell game with cornell having the edge. But Danowksi and greer are to good an dplaying there best lacrosse coming into this game. DOnt know why everyone is predicting high scores, Im going with duke:9-8 in OT.
Hopkins takes Ud in a much closer came then everyone thinks at 8-7. Smith is amazing and will keep them in it, but the jays are the masters at one goal games
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