NEWARK, Del. — An explosive third quarter was just what the University of Delaware men’s lacrosse team needed Saturday afternoon to help place their head coach into the history books.
Breaking away from a 4-4 deadlock at halftime, the No. 19 ranked Blue Hens exploded for 12 third quarter goals and cruised the rest of the way for a 19-6 victory over Detroit in the first game of the collegiate men’s lacrosse season at Delaware Stadium.
The win gave veteran Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw (at right) his 300th career victory, making him only the third active NCAA Division I head coach and only the eighth in the history of men’s collegiate lacrosse to reach that lofty plateau.
Now in his 37th season as a college head coach, including his 34th at Delaware, Shillinglaw owns a record of 300-264 and joins Georgetown’s Dave Urick and Virginia’s Dom Starsia as the only current Division I coaches to reach the 300-win mark. Shillinglaw, a two-time national Coach of the Year, has led the Hens to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including four since the 2005 season. Delaware is the two-time defending Colonial Athletic Association champions, advancing to the NCAA Tournament each season.
“This means a lot,” said Shillinglaw, who has now won 276 of those games in 34 seasons at the helm of the Blue Hens. “So many people had a part in this. I’ve had so many outstanding assistant coaches and players who have made me look good over the years. I’m just really proud of all the alums out there, many of them who were here to today, who made this possible. I’m proud of this year’s team and I’m proud to be a part of the University of Delaware lacrosse program.”
Senior Grant Kaleikau (at left), junior Sean Finegan, and sophomore Danny Keane each scored four goals to lead the Blue Hen assault and Kaleikau added four assists as the Blue Hens (1-0) opened the NCAA Division I men’s college lacrosse season with some offensive fireworks on a gray, chilly day. The Hens, who traditionally play the first NCAA Division I men’s game of the season, have now won 10 straight season openers.
The eight points were a career-high for Kaleikau and the most by a Blue Hen player since All-American Curtis Dickson enjoyed a 10-point day against Albany on March 6, 2010. Dom Sebastiani added two goals and two assists and Brenden Gilson tallied a goal and two assists to lead a balanced effort that saw nine different Delaware players score a goal and seven dish out an assist.
In addition, Delaware’s Dan Cooney won 18 of 23 faceoffs and goalkeeper Chris Herbert posted 15 saves to gain the victory in his collegiate debut.
The 12 goals in a quarter is believed to be a Delaware school record. The last time the Hens reached double figures for goals in a quarter was May 3, 2000 when Delaware tallied 10 times in the third quarter of a 23-11 win over Hartford at Rullo Stadium. The 19 goals is tied for the most ever for Delaware in a game at Delaware Stadium.
Detroit (0-1), the favorite to capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title after returning virtually its entire lineup from last year’s 6-10 squad, got three goals from Shayne Adams while Joel Matthews and Scott Harris each contributed a goal and an assist.
The Titans managed just 15 shots and nine groundballs in the second half and were outshot 49-32 on the day. Delaware won 22 of 29 faceoffs and scored five extra-man goals.
The milestone win looked miles away for Delaware at halftime as Detroit forged the tie on a man-down goal by John Nowicki with 4:51 left in the second quarter.
Shillinglaw swears it wasn’t his halftime speech, but the Blue Hens came out in the second half like a team possessed. Delaware scored three goals in the first four minutes of the stanza to take a 7-4 lead before Detroit answered with a goal by Adams at the 10:15 mark to make it a two-goal game.
The rest of the quarter was a blur as the Blue Hens reeled off nine straight goals to finish the stanza with 12 total and took a 16-5 advantage into the final quarter. Delaware never went more than three minutes without scoring a goal during the stanza.
Kaleikau, an All-American candidate and team’s top returning scorer, tallied three goals and assisted on three others in the third stanza while Keane (at right) and Finegan each scored twice.
“He is a great guy and to get his 300th win is huge,” said Kaleikau, who scored three goals in a span of 3:36 during the frantic third quarter. “He does so much for this program. He is the face of Delaware lacrosse.”
After Detroit scored the first goal of the day midway through the first quarter, Delaware came back with two goals just five seconds part late in the first stanza. Keane scored at the 1:48 mark and Finegan tallied just five seconds later, marking the second fastest consecutive pair goals by Delaware in school history.
Detroit scored two straight to tie the game at 3-3 with 8:58 left in the second quarter before Finegan’s goal with 6:33 left gave Delaware a 4-3 lead and Nowicki’s tally tied things up at 4-4 heading into the break.
Delaware will return to action next Saturday, Feb. 11, when the Hens head to Bucknell for a 1 p.m. faceoff.