It took a near-miracle, two goals in less than a minute to steal a come-from-behind win this past weekend, but the Delaware Blue Hens are off to their best start in soccer since the Nixon administration and hoping the magic comeback on Sunday is a sign that it’s a special year.
The Blue Hens (5-0-0) came into the match with Seton Hall already confident with four wins to start the season and having outscored opponents 15-2 in those first few games. While ranked just No. 59 by Bennettrank coming into the week, they were among the biggest movers in the rankings, having jumped 11 spots in the first week of the season.
But they managed to dig a bit of a hole against BR-105 Seton Hall that threatened to end the thrilling beginning of what Hens fans hope will be a championship season in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Seton Hall’s Kai Greene stunned Delaware with a header about 15 minutes into the second half that gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead, and put the Hens in a new situation, trailing for the first time this season.
But about 10 minutes later, Delaware freshman Thibault Philippe scored on a 25-yard free kick that took a deflection off the Seton Hall wall to knot the score.
But the Delaware unbeaten streak still was on the line – at least for 37 more seconds. Then, Delaware junior Joe Dipre put a 30-yard shot just under the crossbar to restore the Hens’ lead, and the team held on for a 3-2 win, the team’s fifth straight.
The start is the best for Delaware since 1970.
Earlier in the match Delaware’s Guillermo Delgado, an All-American sophomore from Tres Cantos, Spain, had gotten his team-leading fifth goal of the season to start the scoring, before Seton Hall equalized through a Victor Manosalvas header.“I think tonight was the best free college entertainment you will find within 100 miles,” Hens Coach Ian Hennessy – a former All-American player at Seton Hall – said afterward, “It was a passionate contest, the goals were fantastic, and the storylines were tremendous. I’m thrilled that we were able to stay undefeated…”
Delaware’s offensive leader, Delgado had already received Colonial Athletic conference Player of the Week honors before the Seton Hall game, reflecting his game-winning goals over Iona and St. Bonaventure. Delgado now has 20 goals in just 25 career NCAA games.
The win over Seton Hall (1-1-1) is a bit of redemption for Delaware, which lost to the Pirates in overtime last year, 5-4, after squandering a 3-0 lead. It was the Hens’ only defeat in their first 11 games last season.
Delaware plays Sunday at home against Saint Peters, hoping to match the 1970 team’s 6-0 start.