Lacrosse knows team needs to win out to make CAAs
Published: Monday, April 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 18:04
Just over 90 seconds into the third period, the Delaware men’s lacrosse team led the University of Michigan, 6-1, Saturday at Delaware Stadium. Hens senior midfielder Nick Diachenko drove to the goal, cut right and then shot with his stick angled behind his back. The shot sailed into the net for a goal, Diachenko’s third of the game.
Wearing pink jerseys and taking on the Wolverines in the annual Cancer Awareness Day, the Hens scored early and often en route to a 12-5 victory. Delaware entered the contest with a 3-8 record, coming off a victory Wednesday against Marist College. Michigan, in its second year with lacrosse as a varsity sport, held a mark of 0-10 prior to the contest.
Hens coach Bob Shillinglaw said he was pleased with the team’s performance.
“I thought we did a great job of executing,” Shillinglaw said. “I looked at the stats at halftime. I don’t think in my whole coaching career we’ve ever had a half where we only had two turnovers, so we seemed really sharp.”
Senior attacker Eric Smith opened the scoring, recording a goal off a pass by freshman attacker Ian Robertson about 4 minutes in to give Delaware a lead it would not relinquish. With 7:49 remaining in the opening period, Diachenko scored, with sophomore attacker Brian Kormondy getting credit for the assist. About 5:30 later, Robertson connected with junior midfielder Danny Keane for a goal.
Smith said the Hens did not overlook Michigan even though the Wolverines entered with a winless record.
“Every team in Division I is a good team,” Smith said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
He said the team played very well on both offense and defense, limiting Michigan in shooting while not turning the ball over.
Less than a minute into the second period, Smith scored off a pass by senior midfielder Dom Sebastiani. Hens midfielder Conor McRoy recorded a goal later in the period, making it 5-0 Delaware. With a little over a minute remaining, Michigan got on the board, courtesy of midfielder Mike Hernandez, but the Hens answered when Keane put the ball in the back of the net 14 seconds before halftime, sending the Hens to the break up 6-1.
Delaware held a seven shot advantage over Michigan at halftime, 23-16. The Hens turned the ball over twice, whereas the Wolverines gave it away 10 times.
Shillinglaw said though he was a bit worried about his team being fatigued after having played an away game three days before, the Hens quickly stomped out his concern.
“You’re always concerned when you end up playing a midweek game, that there’s a little bit of fatigue involved, things like that,” he said. “It was an away trip, three hours, four hours that it took, but I was impressed with what we did Thursday and Friday. The team seemed really focused.”
Diachenko scored an unassisted goal early in the third, followed by a goal from Keane—assisted by McRoy—and a goal from senior attacker Sean Finnegan. Michigan midfielder Tom Sardelli was able to get a goal, but once again, the Hens answered. Robertson and Diachenko each put the ball in the net once more in the quarter, making it 11-2 after three.
Freshman goalkeeper Conor Peaks, who made 13 saves, said he felt he contributed to the win.
“I think I got what I needed to get done,” Peaks said. “There are a couple I wish I could get back, and there’s a couple saves I’m proud of making, so all in all, I think it was all right, but the defense gave me all the good looks they were supposed to give me.”
Attacker Mike Francia of the Wolverines scored the first goal of the final period about 10 minutes in. Smith added one final goal for the Hens with 2:32 remaining. After goals by Michigan attackers Thomas Paras and Evan Glaser to make the score 12-5, the game came to a close.
Six Hens finished with goals, and Keane, Smith and Diachenko recorded hat tricks. Five Delaware players also had assists. Thanks to his four points, Smith was named the Milt Roberts MVP of the game. The award is named after the co-founder of the school’s lacrosse program.
Smith said though he felt he had played well, another member of the team had a better game.
“Conor Peaks in cage was my MVP,” he said.
Delaware finished with 35 shots, 36 ground balls and seven turnovers. The Wolverines had 32 shots, 30 ground balls and 18 turnovers.
Diachenko leads the team with 29 points and 27 goals on the season. The former ranks him second in the CAA. Smith has 27 points, and McRoy has 22.