PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the conference slate on the horizon, one thing is clear about the University of Delaware men’s lacrosse program in 2018. The Blue Hens can play with anybody.

Facing its third top-15 opponent in the past four games, Delaware gave 11th-ranked Rutgers all it could handle for 45 minutes, but the Scarlet Knights used a late-game rally to pull away for a 15-10 win on a cold night in Piscataway, N.J.

In all eight of the Blue Hens’ non-conference games, Delaware was winning or within two goals entering the final quarter. That includes all three opponents that sit in the top-15 nationally.

Senior Dean DiSimone and sophomore Charlie Kitchen led the offensive attack, each notching a hat trick on the night. It was the second hat trick of the year for both Blue Hens.

Sophomore Matt DeLuca continues to be outstanding in net, tallying 12 saves in the contest. He has now registered double-digit saves in six of Delaware’s eight games this year and his 12.0 saves per game rank in the top-five nationally.

Junior Jake Hervada won 14 face-offs on the night, the second-highest total of the year, along with grabbing a career-high 12 groundballs.

The game was a back and forth battle for much of the night.

Delaware started the game with goals from DiSimone and Kitchen in the first three minutes to grab a 2-1 advantage.

Rutgers would score three straight goals, but DiSimone and classmate Will Hirschmann scored within 90 seconds of each other to even the game at 4-4.

The Scarlet Knights would again respond with three straight goals to grab a 7-4 lead early in the second quarter.

That’s when Delaware went on its run, sparked by back-to-back goals from Kitchen and Joe Eisele within 20 seconds of each other to ignite a five-goal spurt that led to a 9-7 lead early in the second half after Kitchen scored his third goal of the night.

Rutgers would go on its run, scoring eight of the game’s final nine goals, to pull off the 15-10 victory.

Delaware returns home on Saturday, March 31st to open up conference play against Fairfield. Game time at Delaware Stadium is set for 12 p.m.