Offense Comes to Life as UD Beats Dartmouth
from press release
DANBURY, Conn. -- Backed by a career-high four goals from Nick Diachenko (at right) and a six-point effort from Grant Kaleikau, the University of Delaware offense came to life Tuesday afternoon as the No. 19 ranked Blue Hens held off Dartmouth for a 14-11 men's lacrosse victory at Western Connecticut State University.
The Blue Hens (8-4), who won for the fourth time in the last five games, struggled to score in Saturday's 10-4 setback to No. 11 Villanova, but had little problems scoring on this day as they peppered the Big Green with 39 shots and got scoring from nine different players. The 14 goals was the Hens' highest total this season since a 19-4 victory over Presbyterian back on Feb. 12 at Delaware Stadium.
Diachenko, a sophomore from Courtice, Ontario, netted a career-high four goals, including three in the third quarter alone, to lead the Blue Hen scoring parade. Kaleikau added two goals and matched a season-high four goals as part of a season-high six-point day.
John Mills scored twice, Eric Smith continued his scoring streak with a goal and three assists, and defensemen Taylor Burns and Will Wojciechowski also got into the scoring act with a goal of their own. Nick Elsmo also scored for the Hens to continue his goal-scoring streak to seventh straight games. Noah Fossner posted 10 saves in goal to earn the victory while the UD defense stopped Dartmouth on all seven man-up opportunities.
Dartmouth (4-6), which lost its second straight game and fell for the fifth time in the last six games, got three goals from Nikki Dysenchuk and two each from Chris Costabile and Rhett Miller with Drew Tunney adding a goal and four assists. Delaware held the Big Green's leading scorer, Kip Dooley, to a just a single goal and that came just over a minute into the game and one assist.
"I thought we did a nice job offensively today," said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, who upped his career win total to 296 and moved to within four victories of reaching the rare 300-win plateau. "We still have to clean up some of our unforced errors, but we tightened up on defense and we did a nice job of controlling the ball towards the end of the game when we needed to. We have a big game coming up Saturday at Saint Joseph's and that is our season. We need to be strong in conference."
The teams met at Western Connecticut State University's WestConn Athletic Complex, a neutral site roughly halfway between the two schools. Delaware was designated as the home team and it felt like it as the crowd of 350 was dominated by Blue Hen fans, including a group of 40 grade-school children from Pelham, N.Y. who came to cheer on hometown hero Garrett Johnson, a UD sophomore midfielder.
Neither team ever led by more than three goals in a rainy, high-scoring, back-and-forth affair that saw eight goals scored in the first quarter and nine more in the third.
After Dartmouth jumped out to a 2-1 lead on goals by Dooley and Tunney in the opening high minutes, the Hens answered with three straight tallied from Diachenko, Kaleikau, and Smith in a span of just under two minutes go up 4-2 and led the rest of the day.
Dysenchuk stopped the UD streak with a rare man-down goal with 3:47 left in the opening quarter, but Delaware's Brenden Gilson and Sean Finegan responded with back to back goals to push the lead to three. The teams then traded goals with the Hens taking an 8-5 lead into halftime on Mills' second goal with 2:48 left.
Both teams traded goals over the first eight minutes of the third quarter, including two by Delaware's Diachenko, before Dartmouth tallied back-to-back goals from Miler and Dysenchuk to narrow the Blue Hen lead to 11-9 with 2:49 left in the stanza. Goals by Diachenko and Dysenchuk to close out the period kept the lead at two.
The Big Green finally pulled to within a single goal in the final quarter when Costabile netted an unassisted goal with 9:43 left to play to cut the lead to 12-11. But the Hens never let Dartmouth get closer as Burns picked up a groundball in transition, passed off to Smith, then got the ball back and fired past goalkeeper Fergus Campbell (14 saves) for an insurance goal with 6:14 remaining for a 13-11 lead.
Delaware then controlled the ball for most of the remainder of the game and added another insurance goal on an empty-net score by Kaleikau.