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The University of Delaware men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA

Updated: February 09, 2011, 11:11

Photo courtesy of Detroit Sports Information

NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago thanks the high-scoring tandem of All-Americans Curtis Dickson and Martin Cahill.

But the talented pair graduated last spring after combining to score 96 goals, nearly half of the Blue Hens season total. With that in mind, veteran UD head coach Bob Shillinglaw knew that to be successful in 2011, his team would have to depend on balanced scoring and solid defense.

That was exactly what he got Saturday afternoon as the 17th ranked Blue Hens got the season off to a successful start as 10 different players scored goals and the defense allowed just three goals until the final minute of play in a dominating 13-5 victory over Detroit Mercy at rainy and chilly Delaware Stadium.

Delaware (1-0), which annually plays the first collegiate men's lacrosse game in the nation each spring, accepted those honors once again Saturday as the Hens won big and extended their season-opening win streak to nine straight games dating back to the 2003 season. The game was played in a steady rain with wind chill temperatures below 30 degrees.

A trio of midfielders in John Austin, Dom Sebastiani, and Nick Diachenko each scored twice while Eric Smith scored a goal and dished out a career-high three assists and Nick Elsmo, Anthony Ruiz, and Sean Finegan each contributed a goal and as assist.

Dan Cooney dominated the faceoff circle by winning 15 of 21 attempts and scoring a goal while All-CAA goalkeeper Noah Fossner was impressive, recording 12 saves and allowing just three goals before sitting out the final three minutes with the Hens up big.

Detroit Mercy (0-1), playing only its third season as a varsity program and coming off a 3-12 record a year ago, scored all of its goals on extra man opportunities with Shayne Adams netting three goals and Scott Harris adding a goal and two assists. The Titans had just one less groundball (37-36) and only four more turnovers (27-23) than Delaware but were outshot 53-27.

The Blue Hens jumped out to a 7-2 lead at halftime - getting goals from seven different players - and cruised the rest of the way for the victory. During the Hens' streak of nine straight opening day wins, the average victory margin has been by an impressive nine goals per game.

Delaware shut out the Titans 4-0 in the third quarter by getting two goals each from Austin and Diachenko to take an 11-2 lead into the final stanza and pushed the margin to 13-3 before Detroit scored two man-up goals in the final minute of the game to close the final deficit.

The Hens will continue action next Saturday, Feb. 12, when they host Presbyterian at 1:00 p.m. at Delaware Stadium in the first-ever game before the two schools in men's lacrosse.

Detroit Mercy 1 1 0 3 5
Delaware 3 4 4 2 13

Scoring Summary (Goals-Assists):

Detroit Mercy - Shayne Adams, 3-0; Scott Harris, 1-2; Matt Gregson, 1-0; Alex Maini, 0-1
Delaware - John Austin, 2-0; Dom Sebastiani, 2-0; Nick Diachenko, 2-0; Eric Smith, 1-3; Anthony Ruiz, 1-1; Nick Elsmo, 1-1; Sean Finegan, 1-1; Kevin Kaminski, 1-0; Carter Bloor, 1-0; Dan Cooney, 1-0

Shots: DM - 27, D - 53
Groundballs: DM - 26, D - 37
Faceoffs: DM - 6, D - 15

DM - 17 (A.J. Levell)
D - 13 (Noah Fossner, 56:56 min., 3 goals, 12 saves; Ryan Smith, 3:04, 2 goals, 1 save)

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