April 22, 2007
NEWARK, DE -- Senior All-American Alex Smith led the #18 Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens Saturday night as he scored a career-high three goals, dished out one assist, and won 19 of 24 faceoffs on the way to a 12-9 Colonial Athletic Association men's lacrosse victory over Sacred Heart before a UD season-high crowd of 1,400 fans.
Smith, who has led the NCAA in faceoffs each of the last three seasons and holds the NCAA record for career faceoffs won and taken, led Delaware (8-5, 3-2 CAA) to its second straight win and helped the Blue Hens clinch a spot in the CAA semifinals to be held May 2 at either Drexel or Towson. The loss eliminated the Pioneers from playoff contention. Smith had scored just one goal all season entering the game and just 14 for his career before posting his first career hat trick.
Sacred Heart, which got two goals and two assists from Michael Collins and two goals form Peter Greco, lost its fifth straight game and fell to 2-8 (1-4 CAA). Bobby Karl added a goal and an assist and goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas recorded 16 saves. Delaware outshot the Pioneers 51-31, won 19 of 24 faceoffs, held a 42-34 advantage in groundballs, and committed 10 less turnovers, but couldn't put the Pioneers away until the closing minutes.
The Blue Hens jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, but Sacred Heart got a goal from Karl with just 12 seconds left in the opening period and Tony Tanzi scored with 6:43 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 3-3. Delaware scored the final four goals of the half, all in the final 6:31, to take a 7-3 lead at the break.
Delaware built its biggest lead of the night at 8-3 when Smith scored right after a faceoff win as he tallied his second goal just five seconds into the second half. Sacred Heart's Collins and Delaware's Dickson traded goals to keep the UD lead at five at 9-4, but the Pioneers scored the final two goals of the stanza as Collins and Jon Flood connected and then tallied the first of the final quarter on a goal by Evan Morgan with 11:35 left to play to pull SHU to within 9-7.
Delaware got some breathing room as Zuder-Havens scored just eight seconds later and Dickson and Smith scored over the next two minutes to increase the lead to 12-7. Sacred Heart pulled to within 12-9 on goals by Greco and Nicholas Russo, but couldn't manage a goal after the 4:49 mark.