Delaware nets first tournament win
Dineen goal gives Blue Hens first victory vs. ACC in eight tries
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Sophomore John Dineen headed home a shot into the top left corner of the goal with 4:14 remaining in the second overtime period to give Delaware a dramatic 1-0 victory against Virginia on Thursday night at Klockner Stadium in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The victory, the first NCAA tournament win by the Blue Hens in school history, advances Delaware to the second round where UD will face fourth-ranked UCLA. The victory featured the ninth time in the last 13 games the Blue Hens went to overtime and UD’s first win in eight tries against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
The final play started with a long free kick by Darren O’Connor from the left sideline into the box, where is was headed by Blue Hen sophomore Mark Garrity. The ball continued in the air to Dineen, who headed it past Cavaliers goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita to set off the Blue Hen celebration. The goal was Dineen’s third of the season, while Garrity notched his second assist of the year.
The win continues an incredible run by Delaware, which improved to 13-5-4 on the season and increased its school-record win total. The Blue Hens entered last weekend’s CAA tournament as the fourth seed, and after advancing past Northeastern and James Madison on penalty kicks, UD topped Old Dominion in the championship game, 2-1, to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Virginia, the 2009 national champion which was appearing in its 31st consecutive NCAA tournament, ended its season at 12-8-1.
“This is our fourth game in eight days, that’s a remarkable achievement for these young men against such a great team,” sixth-year Delaware head coach Ian Hennessy said. “To come into a hostile ACC environment and get the victory is a great achievement. Credit to Virginia, I thought they had the better play, but we had the better chances.”
“First off, we knew straight off that Virginia is a huge program,” Dineen said. “We realize they have won a lot of national championships, and we knew they were a good side. But we’re a good side too, and we think we can play with anyone. We got a free kick, and I was on my last legs. But I decided to go forward, and I was banking on Mark Garrity to bang in the header. I just was in the right place at the right and was able to guide it in. It’s unbelievable.”
The first half was evenly played with few opportunities for either team, as Virginia took three of the four total shots during the period.
The flow picked up in the second half, and with 35 minutes remaining Delaware senior Kyle Ellis received a pass from Roberto Gimenez but could not get off a shot inside the six-yard box. Hunter Jumper then had a chance for the Cavaliers with a rocket from 30 yards out, but Delaware goalkeeper Kris Devaux made the save and the ball squirted just outside the left post to keep the game scoreless.
Delaware had a fantastic chance with 20 minutes to go when Evans Frimpong fired a laser past LaCivita, but the ball banged off the low right side of the post. Frimpong continued to attack, as one of his shots was saved before he sent another across an open goal mouth, but neither one found the back of the net.
Virginia forward Chris Somerville had a golden opportunity with 12 minutes left as he found himself wide open 10 yards out, but his shot sailed high over the UD goal. Somerville had another great chance with just under 10 minutes to play, but he again fired a shot well over the cage.
Virginia had the two best chances during the first overtime period, but a shot by Felipe Libreros from 25 yards out was saved by Devaux and a rocket by Somerville hit a UD defender before getting cleared.
The second extra session did not feature many scoring opportunities until Dineen cashed in late, setting off the Blue Hen celebration.
Devaux made three saves while posting his sixth shutout of the season for Delaware, while LaCivita stopped four shots in the Virginia goal.
Virginia held a slim 17-16 advantage in shots and a 10-3 edge in corner kicks.