Lacrosse falls in home opener to Bucknell, 9-8
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 20:02
After falling behind by five goals just two minutes into the second quarter, the Delaware men’s lacrosse team had a chance to take a late lead.
Senior attacker Eric Smith found himself with a one-on-one opportunity from the left wing to give the Hens an 8-7 advantage against No.18 Bucknell University. Smith faked right, pushed left and scored unassisted on an acrobatic finish in front of the net.
The Bison answered by scoring the next two goals in six minutes of play. Searching for his fifth goal, Smith was denied by Bucknell goaltender Kyle Feeney with 22.5 seconds remaining, and Delaware failed to get another shot off, as the Bison stormed the field at the final whistle to celebrate their victory.
“I thought we played pretty well in the second half,” Smith said. “It was just too little too late. I take full responsibility for that last one—should have had the game winner, I just missed it.”
Bucknell scored the game’s first goal just 39 seconds into the contest, as midfielder Peter Burke assisted attackman Chase Bailey from behind the cage.
The game was scoreless for the next 8:23 until Bison midfielder Brock Ghelfi swept from right to left and put the ball in the back of the net.
Bucknell added two more goals from attacker Todd Heritage before the end of the first period, Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw said his team came out slow in the early portions of the game.
“I thought our team played hard,” he said. “We need a little better execution. I thought we were tentative and we forced the ball, particularly in that first quarter. Midway through the second quarter I thought we kind of settled in a little bit and started to find our way.”
Delaware snapped out of its funk and went on a three-goal run as junior midfielder Connor McRoy scored the Hens’ first goal of the game just over two minutes into the second quarter. Junior midfielder Danny Keane and senior midfielder Nick Diachenko each tallied scores of their own to bring the Hens to within two goals.
At the break, the Hens trailed 6-3, and sophomore goaltender Chris Herbert said the team knew they needed to improve their play to have a chance to win the game.
“We didn’t execute in the first half,” Herbert said. “We didn’t do the little things. We did a little better on groundballs in the second half. Faceoffs were much better in the second half. Even our guys inside on defense were much better.”
Delaware scored three-consecutive unassisted goals to tie the game with just over eight minutes remaining in the third period. Two of the three tallies came from Smith, while McRoy added his second of the game as well. Heritage fired back for the Bison on a man-up opportunity with just over five and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter. Bucknell took a 7-6 lead heading into the fourth period.
Smith scored back-to-back goals to give Delaware the lead with 8:27 to play, but Bucknell regained the lead with two goals from Ghelfi and Flibotti. After a turnover by Smith, the Bison had the ball with one minute and 22 seconds left, and an errant pass immediately gave the Hens the ball back, but a Delaware turnover as time expired sealed the game.
The Hens had their 21-game winning streak against Bucknell snapped with Saturday’s loss. Although Delaware had its comeback hopes squashed in the game’s final minutes, Shillinglaw thought his team had improved since their 12-10 victory over High Point University in the season opener.
“We’ve got to continue to keep getting better,” Shillinglaw said. “ But, yeah I think the team is starting to develop some chemistry and get an understanding of what it takes to be successful on the field.”
Delaware plays its next game Saturday at Delaware Stadium against USILA preseason No. 1 Loyola at 3 p.m.