Delaware Turns Gritty Defensive Effort into 12-7 Victory Over Saint Joseph’s
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware needed a big effort against a stingy Saint Joseph’s defense in its non-league men’s lacrosse tussle with the Hawks Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium.
And the Blue Hens got just what they needed as sophomore Andrew Romagnoli and freshman Charlie Kitchen (at left) combined for eight goals to lead Delaware to the much-needed 12-7 victory and down rival Saint Joseph’s for the first time since 2013.
Delaware (6-3) bounced back from a setback last Saturday to Binghamton and won for the fifth time in the last six games, surpassing the entire season win total from each of the last two seasons. Saint Joseph’s (3-5) lost its second straight game following a three-game win streak.
“I love these guys, I couldn’t be more happy for this type of win,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw. “I thought our defense played the type of style that we played in the years that we have been really good. We were aggressive, created turnovers, and moved the ball up the field in transition. It was a solid win across the board. We played intelligent lacrosse, got quality shots when we had the lead, and made smart decisions. For us to have another eight-turnover game really speaks to how efficient we have been all season. Our coaching staff - Byron Collins, Dana Wilber, and Chris Selva - did a phenomenal job in getting our guys ready today.”
Saint Joseph’s entered the game having allowed just 10.00 goals per game this season and just 28 over the last four games. But Delaware was on the mark all day as the Hens broke away from a 4-4 halftime deadlock by outscoring SJU 5-2 in the third quarter - including two man-up goals - to take control. The Hens turned the ball over just eight times and were a perfect 17 of 17 on clears.
Romagnoli notched his sixth hat trick of the season with a season-high five goals and extended his point-scoring streak to 12 games, Kitchen scored three times, including a nifty over the shoulder goal off a rebound in the second quarter, Joe Eisele scored twice, Will Hirschmann dished out three assists for the second straight game and also scored a goal, and Trupert Ortlieb chipped in with a goal and two assists.
Delaware freshman goalkeeper Matt DeLuca (at right) was solid once again in the nets with 12 saves to earn the win and improve to 5-1 as a starter.
Saint Joseph’s got two goals from Ray Vandegrift and a goal and an assist from Jason Kelly but no other Hawk player scored more than once. Goalkeeper T.J. Jones notched 12 saves.
Delaware took a quick 2-0 lead and was up 4-2 midway through the second quarter before Saint Joseph’s scored twice in the final 7:34 of the first half to knot the game at 4-4 at the break.
But the Hens got man-up goals from Ortlieb and Eisele in the first three minutes of the second half to take the lead for good at 6-4 and scored three of the final four goals of the third stanza to take a 9-6 advantage. Romagnoli put the game away by scoring each of UD’s three goals in the final quarter.
“We knew this was a big game coming in and we had to come out fired up and do the little things to win,” said Kitchen. “We focused on extending our dodges and kept things moving. Things opened up and we were able to take advantage of it.”
• Delaware’s six wins is their highest total since going 7-9 back in 2014
• The Hens snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hawks, downing SJU for the first time since an 11-6 win in 2013. UD leads the all-time series 14-3
• Kitchen collected his third hat trick of the season and has now scored at least two points in each of his first nine collegiate games
• Romagnoli ranked No. 2 on the team with 21 goals in 2016 but already has 26 to lead the team this year
• Hens close out their four-game homestand next Saturday, March 25, when they host No. 5 ranked Rutgers at 1 p.m.
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