Youngsters Lead Blue Hens Again as Delaware Holds on for 11-9 Men's Lacrosse Victory Over Villanova
NEWARK, Del. -- - The University of Delaware men's lacrosse squad picked up its most significant win of the young season Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens got eight of their goals from freshmen and sophomores and held on for an 11-8 victory over Villanova.
Delaware (3-2), which won its second straight game, jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the opening quarter and took an 11-6 advantage into the final stanza before holding off the rival Wildcats (1-2) in the waning minutes.
Freshman Logan Aunon posted his second straight hat trick with three goals, sophomore Connor Frisina (below left) scored twice, and freshman Jackson Finigan had a goal and three assists to lead the UD offensive attack. In all, freshmen and sophomores accounted for eight of the 11 goals.
Delaware sophomore goalkeeper Conor Peaks collected 16 saves to earn the victory and Tyler Barbarich continued to dominate on faceoffs, winning 17 of 23 draws to lead the Blue Hens. Peaks’ 16 saves were a career-high, surpassing the total of 15 he had in the season-opening win over High Point.
“Our guys have put in some great practice time over the last two weeks and it paid off,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw. “We knew it was going to be one of those crazy games, and true to form, we were holding on for dear life at the end. Villanova is a very talented team offensively and has a great defense as well and we were holding our own against them. Lacrosse has so many ebbs and flows, but when things got rough today, we kept bearing down and thinking about the next play, not about the play that just happened. We had great focus today and it was all because of our great preparation during the week.”
Villanova (1-2), which had gone to overtime in each of its first two games and was receiving votes in the USILA coaches poll, got two goals each from Johnny Gallaway and Vince Curran while Kevin O’Neil added a goal and an assist.
The Hens outscored Villanova 4-1 in the first quarter but the Wildcats answered right back with three straight goals in the second quarter to tie the score at 5-5. But Delaware responded with three straight goals, including two by Frisina, to take a 7-5 lead into halftime.
After Villanova’s Gallaway scored the first goal of the second half to cut the Delaware lead to 7-6, the Blue Hens took control with a four-goal flurry in a span of just three minutes and 11 seconds. Aunon scored three of those goals, including two just 76 seconds apart. The Hens also got a goal from junior longstick defender Brandon Worrall during the spurt to go up 11-6 heading into the final stanza.
But the Wildcats refused to give up and made things interesting down the stretch. Gallaway scored with 2:53 left and Tim Mulrenan tallied a man-up goal just 20 seconds later to cut the margin to 11-9. Villanova would get four more shots off the rest of the way but Peaks stopped two and two others sailed wide.
The Wildcats outshot the Hens 43-37 and had eight less turnovers for the game, but Delaware held a 33-26 advantage on groundballs and won 17 of 23 faceoffs.
Delaware, which avenged a 14-9 loss at Villanova last year, improved to 7-3 all-time against the Wildcats at home and broke the tie in the series, which was knotted at 9-9.
Delaware will have a quick turnaround as the Blue Hens return to action Tuesday to host Lafayette at 4 p.m. at Delaware Stadium.