[VIRGINIA-DELAWARE] John Dineen scored on a header with four minutes remaining in overtime to lift CAA champion Delaware to a 1-0 victory over Virginia Thursday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Kloeckner Stadium. Virginia was making its 31st straight NCAA tournament appearance, while the Blue Hens were making their first appearance in 41 years.
Delaware won the game when Dineen scored on a header off a free-kick play.
"We got a free kick 45 maybe 50 yards just inside their half," said Dineen. "Mark [Garritt] has been a revelation this year and one of the game plans was to pick him out for the free kicks and corner kicks. He peeled away to the back post and I saw what he was doing so I was banking on him winning the header. He won it and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time."
After an uneventful first half, the game opened up in the second half, with the teams combining for 22 shots. The closest either team came to scoring came in the 71st minute when Delaware's Evans Frimpong hit the post.
"It's a fabulous victory for the University of Delaware program," said Delaware coachIan Hennessy. "It's our first time in 41 years in the NCAAs, it is our fourth game in seven or eight days, and it is a remarkable achievement for these young men to win against such a good team in such a good conference away from home."
Hennessy starred at Seton Hall in the late 1980s after coming over from Ireland and had a brief stint with MLS's MetroStars. He earned a doctorate in molecular biology from Columbia University in 2001 but close to move into coaching.
He was an assistant at Boston College under Ed Kelly, his coach at Seton Hall, before becoming the head coach at Delaware in 2006.
The Blue Hens did not have a winning season in his first five years, but they are now 13-5-4 heading into Sunday's game against No. 13 seed UCLA in Los Angeles.
"Last year was the first year we ever made the CAA conference tournament," said Hennessy. "At the start of a head coaching career, you lose big, then you lose small, then you tie, then you win small, then you win big. I think we are in that middle phase of winning small, that's why you have so many overtimes, we are hard to beat and we have the firepower to finish things off."