Women’s soccer clinches second seed in CAA, will host semifinals after shutout wins over Elon, overtime thriller against UNCW
Managing Sports Editor
What a difference a year makes.
Delaware women’s soccer is one win away from tripling its 2018 season win total of four after their ninth shutout of the season over Elon 2-0 on Thursday night.
Senior midfielder Dani Kabat got the Blue Hens on the board early when she launched a shot straight from a throw in outside the box. Redshirt freshman midfielder Gabby Johnson put the second goal in 10 minutes into the second half on a long shot to the corner that went past Elon goalkeeper Katrin Hauksdottir, hit the post and went in.
“We changed our set up for the throw ins recently,” Kabat said. “And I think that kind of helped us out a lot because I think I do a great job of switching the field when I get the ball’.
Delaware dominated on both sides of the ball, outshooting Elon 22 to 10 and applied pressure with shots on goal, winning that battle 10 to three. Hauksdottir was kept busy on the night, registering seven saves. Delaware dominated the corner battle with six to Elon’s one.
This game was especially meaningful to redshirt freshman forward Anna Diffendal who helped secure the win on her 20th birthday.
“We pulled out a team win tonight and it was definitely a good present that I got on my birthday,” Diffendal said. “Since the schedule went out I knew. It was a Thursday night, so I was looking forward to it.”
They also fought off UNCW 3-2 on senior night in which sophomore forward Sarah D’Appolonia put in her third game winning goal of the season in another overtime victory, their fifth of the season.
“It was just down for the wire,” D’Appolonia said. “We talked about playing for our seniors today, and I’ve had that in the back of my head since I stepped on the field. We’re better than this team and we wanted it more ands we proved that today.”
This senior day was more meaningful than any in recent memory for the program and the seniors.
“I think having a really strong attention to your ‘why’ was really important today,” Kabat said. “And I think we all went in having the same ‘why’ and that was [to win] for the senior class and the entire team as a whole and I think that when we go in, and we go in it together, that there’s nothing that’s going to stop us.”
Other players said the day was something special.
“It was definitely an emotional day, starting from when they came in, [the staff] had videos for us,” Senior midfielder Jessica Kennett said. “They put together so many surprises for from videos to decorating our locker room and getting us presents, it just really shows how much our team has our backs and we have their backs.”
The wins move the Blue Hens to 12-6 (7-2 CAA) on the year. The 12 wins marks the highest total since 1994. They have secured second place in the upcoming CAA Tournament, earning a first round bye, and will host a semi finals matchup next Sunday. The second place finish in the CAA is the highest in program history.
“I’m just really proud of the group,” Head Coach Mike Barroqueiro said. “It all goes back to the players. It’s a gutsy group, it’s a group that bends but doesn’t break, it’s a group that instead of turning their backs on one another, they come together and I’m proud of them.”
Delaware will host the winner of UNCW and James Madison for a semifinal match up in the CAA Tournament next Sunday afternoon.