April 21, 2009

Delaware Women Control Own Destiny

from press release

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware women's lacrosse team's game  versus Towson on Thursday, 4 p.m. at Rullo Stadium willl determine if the Blue  Hens win the regular season Colonial Athletic Association title and host the  tournament or come in second place to the winner of the Old Dominion vs.  William & Mary game being played at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. Thurs. night.

Delaware, Old Dominion and William & Mary all sit atop the CAA standings as of now with records of 5-1. The Blue Hens hold the tiebreaker over ODU and W&M  having beaten ODU, 9-8 on Apr. 3 and W&M, 15-11 on Apr. 5; therefore, they control their own destiny.   

If Delaware defeats Towson (4-2) on Thurs., they earn the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will host the four-team tournament at Rullo Stadium in Newark, Del. The winner of the ODU/W&M game would come in second place, the loser in third, and Towson would take fourth.

If Towson, who has secured a No. 4 spot win-or-lose on Thurs., defeats Delaware, then the winner of the ODU vs. W&M game would earn the No. 1 seed and host the tournament. Delaware would finish second, the loser of the ODU/W&M game third and Towson fourth.     

The Blue Hens are 29-11 all-time against their long-time rival Towson, but 3-4 since both teams joined the CAA in 2002. Under Head Coach Kim Ciarrocca, Delaware is 2-2 against the Tigers.

In the last meeting between the two schools, Towson won on its home field, 15-10 on Mar. 30, 2008. The Tigers, who won last year's CAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed, were the pre-season favorite to win the CAA again this year and were ranked No. 19 in the IWLCA Preseason Poll.

Towson, who hosts this year's NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four at its Johnny Unitas Stadium, returned last year's conference player of the year, Hillary Fratzke, who was named the pre-season player of the year coming into this season. But Fratzke suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the year against Loyola on Mar. 7, and the Tigers have had to do without her for
most of the season.

In CAA play, the Tigers have rattled off four straight wins, starting with Hofstra (the only CAA team to beat UD) and ending with James Madison. They have scored in double-figures in all but three games this year, and scored a season-high 17 goals against Drexel on Apr. 12.

Meanwhile, Delaware has won its last two and five of its last six in CAA competition. The Blue Hens opened CAA play with a 9-8 thriller over Old Dominion in which freshman Stephanie Allen scored the winning goal with just two seconds left in regulation. Allen followed up that performance just two days later with an impressive six-goal day to lead the Hens past William & Mary, 15-11. She has emerged as one of the team's most explosive offensive threats.
       
Senior captain Deb Sloan has also come on strong as of late for the Blue Hens after sitting out four games and seeing limited action in a few others due to a nagging back injury. Sloan is the reigning CAA Player of the Week for the week ending Apr. 19. She is coming off a career-high five-goal and one assist performance in the 14-7 UD win over George Mason this past Sunday. She is tied with junior attack Emily Schaknowski for the team lead in points with 27. She has scored a team-high 20 goals and is fourth on the team in assists with seven.

Delaware also features one of the top goalkeepers in the conference in senior Jessica Cerveny. She leads the league in goals against average at 8.44 GAA., ranks second in save percentage at .502, and fourth in saves per game at 8.47.


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