Oct. 11, 2009

Courtesy of Delaware

BOSTON, Mass. – The University of Delaware field hockey team saw its nine- game winning streak come to an end as the No. 17 Blue Hens dropped a close 1-0 decision to Colonial Athletic Association foe Northeastern on Sunday afternoon at Sweeney Field.

Despite the setback, Delaware (9-3, 4-1 CAA) is still tied for the top spot in the conference along with James Madison and Drexel. Northeastern (9-4, 3-1) trails the leaders by half a game.

After the teams both had scoring opportunities thwarted early in the first half by strong goaltending, Northeastern eventually converted. With 20 minutes expired in the opening period, freshman Nicola Graham momentarily broke free from the Delaware defense. With some space, the standout forward uncorked a shot and found an opening for her fourth goal of the year.

Trailing for the first time since an early 1-0 first half deficit at James Madison on September 27, Delaware refused to back down. The squad earned a penalty corner less than a minute after the NU goal and Missy Woodie later blasted a shot, but the Huskie defense held tough.

Following halftime, the Blue Hens orchestrated an offensive attack that saw the squad fire two shots and earn a pair of penalty corners in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Despite the effort, the squad could not find the back of the cage as goalie Lizzie Priest held up strong against the pressure.

Later, after Delaware called a timeout to regroup, Casey Howard ripped a shot on goal and Michelle Drummonds also blasted a shot, but Priest turned away both chances. With time running out in regulation, the team earned two penalty corners in the waning moments of the game. Although the squad had shown a strong propensity to convert on those opportunities during its lengthy win streak, the team simply could not against Northeastern.

Despite holding an 8-3 lead in corners and a slight 6-5 edge in shots, Delaware could not answer the Huskie’s early tally.

With the loss, the Blue Hens saw their school-record streak of 11 straight contests with multiple goals come to an end. It also marked the first time the team was shut out since suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of No. 15 Drexel on October 31, 2008.

Goalie Noelle Diana posted three saves for the Hens, while Priest finished with four for the Huskies.

Delaware will return to action on Friday when the team hosts Monmouth at 7 p.m. That contest kicks off a streak of five straight home games for the Hens that will wrap up the regular season.