Tale of two halves makes difference for Hens, win 7-6
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 19:02
As the Hens clung to a 6-5 lead with less than 5 minutes left to play in the second period, junior midfield Shannon Burns received a yellow card that ensued a 2-minute man-up opportunity for the University of Denver at Delaware Stadium on Sunday.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Zaugra denied a free-position shot 20 seconds later to keep the Pioneers down one goal to Delaware. The Hens picked up the groundball off the rebound and remained in Denver’s half the rest of the man-up opportunity.
Delaware was killing the clock until sophomore midfielder Caitlin McCartney took the ball, outran two defenders in a semi-circle and slammed the ball on the turf to beat Denver goalkeeper Hannah Hook and to take a 7-5 lead with 1:42 left in the game. It was McCartney’s third straight hat trick this season and turned out to be the game-winning score to improve Delaware’s record to 2-1.
“Ultimately, when we got even, Caitlin had a one-on-one,” head coach Kateri Linville said. “She’s got outstanding lateral quickness and ability to step down the cage, and she put it away.”
Although the Hens had a two-goal lead late, the Pioneers were not ready to quit. Another big save by Zaugra off a free-position shot kept Delaware up two, as she quickly dropped to her knees and blocked the low shot which yielded no rebound.
However, with 21 seconds left, Denver’s attacker Kara Secora was able to beat the Hens’ goalkeeper to make the final draw a bit more interesting, though Delaware won the faceoff and secure the victory.
A fast-paced first period with numerous turnovers, failed clears and goals completely changed in the final frame. Delaware maintained possession in the Pioneers’ zone many times as the Hens executed their passes and played keep away.
Denver only managed five shots in the second period as opposed to 13 in the first. Linville said the team talked about running to the passes, creating more than one passing option and using its skills to create fewer turnovers.
Delaware also tightened its defensive form by accomplishing over 55 percent of its clears after only converting 38 percent in the first period.
McCartney said Denver’s double team defense slowed up the Hens’ offense, which failed to score in double digits for the first time of the early season. She and Linville also agreed Hook’s goaltending ability was something new for the Hens.
“We were definitely trying to execute the one-on-one drives a lot,” McCartney said. “We knew that they were sending hard doubles. So we were trying to hit the weak side.”
McCartney said beating the double team would give the Hens the best opportunity to score against a goalkeeper that was very aggressive. Delaware got the best of Hook in the end as Burns tallied two, junior attackers Abbie Hartman and Chelsea Fay also added one.
The Hens schedule resumes Friday at La Salle University at 7 p.m. Linville said the team will need to continue to improve and play a complete game.
“We knew we wouldn’t be flawless,” Linville said. “We’re still working on some turnovers and some transitions, but that’s on us and we’re going to have to clean up our game.”