BY DANIEL STEENKAMER
Managing Sports activities Editor
You possibly can hear Delaware males’s soccer goalkeeper Adam Vik discuss his recreation from wherever.
That’s what Blue Hens head coach Tommy McMenemy was reminded of Thursday night time throughout his workforce’s match-winning penalty kicks over Drexel College within the Coastal Athletic Affiliation (CAA) event first spherical.
Vik backed up his chatter heard close to and much by turning away sufficient Dragon possibilities to ship Delaware (4-2 PKs) to its first CAA semifinal look since 2016. The Hens are set for a gathering with No. 1 seed and host Hofstra College on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
“Everyone knows that goalkeepers are constructed a bit bit in a different way, wired a bit in a different way,” McMenemy mentioned postgame. “Adam’s no exception. He’s acquired an enormous character, and I used to be simply saying to the coaches that that’s a second the place you really want it. He was glorious. It’s one thing we put together him [for] and work on in coaching all through the season, and even to the purpose of how a lot he can push that gamesmanship. However he is aware of the right way to get into folks’s heads and he’s a superb shot-stopper.”
Fifth-seeded Drexel compelled fourth-seeded Delaware into PKs by climbing out of a 2-0 deficit within the first half and taking a defensive battle via the second half and each overtimes. Because the temperature cooled with sundown, so too did the offenses.
The Blue Hens’ response to their vanished lead at halftime, when it was 2-2, was pleasing to McMenemy and made a cheerful journey again from Hempstead, New York.
“We began 4 true freshmen throughout our again 4 at present,” McMenemy mentioned. “5 true freshmen within the workforce in opposition to a workforce that’s been enjoying collectively and succeeding during the last three years or so–5 grads of their beginning lineup. So, for a workforce to surrender a 2-nil lead as younger as we’re and have the resilience to come back out and never simply cling on, however really enhance the efficiency and be the higher workforce within the second half, was unbelievable.”
McMenemy praised his squad’s play via the fatigue of double time beyond regulation after a bus journey to Lengthy Island.
“We managed it,” McMenemy mentioned. “A lot of what we do on the coaching floor got here to the fore at present as we acquired drained. It wasn’t our greatest day by way of our high quality, however they deserved a possibility on the finish and we took benefit of the penalties behind Adam’s efficiency.”
Delaware opened the scoring in opposition to Drexel within the thirteenth minute by means of senior ahead Carlos Fernandez’ aim streaking down the pitch on the help by junior midfielder Orri Thorhallsson. McMenemy referred to as it “a aim in transition, the place we’ve been harmful all yr.”
The Blue Hens’ second rating got here on a miscue by the Dragons in entrance of their very own internet. Delaware junior ahead Sam Donnellan cleaned up the free ball with a straightaway, close-range shot that put the Hens up by a pair lower than a minute after Fernandez’ strike.
“The second aim, you could possibly have a look at it and say it’s a fluke, however you don’t get that aim except you press the ball successfully, you press the ball from the fitting angle,” McMenemy mentioned. “And yeah, we acquired a little bit of luck with it.”
Delaware’s second-year head coach sees his unit, which is keyed by three CAA All-Rookie picks, nonetheless striving to show its personal model of offensive soccer.
“We’re actually working exhausting to forge our personal id in order that we don’t have to regulate for the opposition,” McMenemy mentioned. “I believe that we’ve been doing that as a program for too lengthy. We’d prefer to get to a degree the place the opposition has to consider what we’re going to do and what we’re going to convey.
“So we’ve some attacking rules that we work on, day in, time out, and [that] I speak about most likely an excessive amount of. However they have been there at present.”
Vik was there, too, backing up a Delaware protection that held down the fort within the face of stress and all that comes with a win-or-go-home, tied rating in regulation. The Blue Hens’ keeper completed with 4 saves on prime of the stops accrued within the game-clinching shootout.
The vocal Vik, a junior, is among the many upperclassmen offering Delaware with management essential to survive in such a decent league event.
“The seniors deserve a lot,” McMenemy mentioned. “We’ve a pair guys injured, a pair guys that haven’t seen a ton of minutes. And I’m telling you, they’re as influential as any variety of the younger gamers which have performed excessive minutes. They know what got here earlier than this group.”
The Hens’ seniors with much less enjoying time have stored spirits excessive.
“They might sulk, they might go quiet, however they’ve been leaders within the locker room,” McMenemy mentioned. “They’re the loudest voices after we go in at halftime earlier than the coaches step in.”
Delaware will want each little bit of that power when it opposes Hofstra in Sunday’s semifinal. The Delight entered the CAA event and its first-round bye ranked seventeenth within the United Soccer Coaches Prime 25 ballot.
Delaware’s signature win this season is its upset of Hofstra, which got here on Oct. 14 in a 2-1 closing.
Replicating that effort would ship Delaware to the CAA event closing with an automated NCAA playoff berth on the road.
Earlier than the semis arrive, the Blue Hens return to Newark after their opening-round knockout of Drexel. McMenemy views the prospect to get house between video games, regardless of the looming loop again to Hofstra Soccer Stadium, as a possibility to reap the benefits of Delaware’s sport efficiency, diet and analytics assets.
“We’ve instructed the boys earlier than: You play the nationwide championship over a weekend, a Thursday-Sunday, so why ought to it’s any totally different on this scenario, proper?” McMenemy mentioned. “The long-term aim is to compete nationally, so to try this, you’ve to have the ability to compete in these environments.”