February 26, 2011

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Leonard's OT Goal Gives Delaware Revenge over Lehigh

from press release

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Morgan Leonard picked a great time to record her first career hat trick. The University of Delaware sophomore found the back of the net with just 11 seconds left in the overtime period to help the women’s lacrosse team defeat Lehigh University 10-9 Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

“Today was a great win for Delaware,” said UD head coach Kateri Linville. “Last year, Lehigh stole a win from this team on our home turf. This year the team refused to lose. It comes down to executing under pressure. Morgan Leonard stepped up and hit the game-winner and Ali Libertini stepped up and grabbed the game-winning draw.

Delaware, which improved to 2-1 on the season, avenged a 12-11 loss to the Mountain Hawks in the 2010 season opener. The Blue Hens are now 23-7 all-time against Lehigh.

Leonard (at right) finished the day with four points, scoring three times while handing out one assist. Holly Burman and Kalyn McDonough each had a two-goal day. A senior attacker, Libertini posted a three-point day with one goal and a pair of helpers. Julianna Jeffers and Chelsea Fay each tallied a goal for Delaware.

Lehigh suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 1-1, but got three goals and an assist from senior Lauren Dykstra, who was named the Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Kelly Draper was the only other Lehigh player with multiple goals. Allison Thomas had three of the Mountain Hawks’ assists, while Dykstra had the fourth.

The Blue Hens came out on fire, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead midway through the first half. Leonard and Burman each scored twice during the run, while Jeffers and McDonough recorded the other two Delaware markers.

The Mountain Hawks got on the board at the 13:13 mark as Megan Kelly finished a pass from Thomas. Lehigh closed the gap once again as Thomas scored her only goal of the afternoon.

Libertini found the back of the net at the 8:06 mark for her sixth goal of the season. Leonard was credited with the assist.

Dykstra closed the first stanza with her sixth marker of the year, with Thomas on the assist. The Hens took a 7-3 advantage into the halftime break.

Lehigh controlled the offensive pace in the second half, outscoring Delaware 6-2 over the final 30 minutes of regulation. Dykstra opened the half with a free position tally less than three minutes in, followed by another free position goal by Chelsea Retaleato.

McDonough scored her second goal of the afternoon at the 23:43 mark of the half, pushing the Delaware advantage to 8-5.

But the Mountain Hawks rallied back, knotting the action at 8-8 with over half the period still left on the clock. Dykstra, Draper and Anna Patterson each tallied a goal to tie the game.

A freshman, Fay scored her first collegiate goal to put Delaware back on top, 9-8.

But with three minutes remaining in the game, Draper scored her second of the day, to again tie the game. Dykstra was given the assist on the goal.

After the teams battled through the first five and half minutes of overtime with out a goal, Leonard buried a shot for her third goal of the day and first hat trick of her career.

“Every game comes down to your ability to compete and execute,” said Linville. “We pushed the pace to start the game. We executed to end the game. I look forward to seeing what this team can do when we compete and execute for an entire 60 minutes.”

Lehigh, which was selected to finish second in the Patriot League Preseason Coaches’ Poll, capitalized on its free position shots, going five-for-10 on the afternoon. Dykstra led the Mountain Hawks, going two-for-three while Thomas went one-for-two. Paterson had the team’s fifth free position goal, scoring on her only attempt.

Delaware struggled on the eight-meter line, going zero-for-seven. But the Hens made up for it with perfect clearing, gaining the offense zone on all 11 of their transition attempts.

The Hens dominated on offense, outshooting Lehigh 30-22, including a 20-shot first half. In goal for UD, Makenzie Worthington stood tough, making eight saves, including one in the overtime period. Lehigh managed four overtime shots.

In the groundball column, Lehigh took a narrow 14-13 advantage. Delaware caused seven turnovers on the day, led by Angela Biciocchi’s two. Leonard set the groundball pace for Delaware, grabbing three, while also snaring four of the Hens’ eight draw controls.

Delaware continues its five-game road swing on March 5 when it heads to Camden, N.J. to take on the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the RU Turf Field.


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