Friday afternoon at Rullo Stadium, dark clouds rolling in over Newark forced the game originally scheduled for 3 p.m. up to 1:45 p.m. Storm winds tore at a Blue Hens flag at the top of the stands, just as the Blue Hens tore into a young, inexperienced James Madison team. With eight unanswered goals, Delaware emerged victorious 8-1.
NCAA champions in 2016, making the tournament in 2017 and top in the CAA this year, Delaware let the Dukes score early in the first half, then rolled away with the offense.
James Madison forward Ongeziwe Mali scored just three and a half minutes into the game, and Delaware goalie Sydney Rhodes noted post game that the South African native’s energy and force posed a constant threat.
Splitting their goals evenly between halves, it wasn’t just Delaware’s recent CAA First Team honorees finding the back of the cage after JMU’s lone goal. Ally Pollak had her first goal of the season, the eighth in the game, with assists from Michaela Scanlon and Conner Allen.
Scoring first for the Blue Hens and tying the game was Tessa Verweijen, named CAA Rookie of the Year the day before, with assists by Greta Nauck and Laurien Vink. It was the first of three assists for Nauck.
Putting Delaware up in the lead was Pia Freudenberger, just under two minutes later. Lotte de Koning, named CAA Player of the Year earlier this week, put a shot in off the foot of JMU’s goalie off a penalty corner, assisted by Nauck and Lisa Giezeman.
With 1:33 left in the first half, Nauck scored her first of three goals, unassisted. She scored the first goal in the second half on a cross pass from Verweijen. Midfielder Ellie Schepens knocked one in with help from Nauck 27 seconds later.
Nauck’s penalty shot and third goal of the game brought the score to 7-1. Pollak’s goal sealed the fate of JMU less than a minute later.
With the win, Delaware advances to its sixth straight CAA Championship Finals and will face the William & Mary — after it defeated Northeastern 2-0 — Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. in Rullo Stadium.
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