Homepage Photo: Tom Holland

NEWARK, Del.  --  The University of Delaware men’s lacrosse team picked a good time to come up with its best effort of the season.

With a berth in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament on the line and the chance to allow the team’s six seniors to continue their careers, the Blue Hens jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back in posting a 15-7 Senior Night victory over Massachusetts Friday at rainy Delaware Stadium.

Delaware (7-8, 1-4 CAA), which snapped a three-game losing streak, earned the fourth and final spot in the upcoming CAA Tournament and will travel to top-seed Hofstra on Wednesday, Apr. 30, to begin post-season play. The three-time CAA champion Blue Hens will be making their first CAA Tournament appearance since winning back-to-back title in 2010 and 2011.

Junior Tom Holland scored a career-high five goals, Beau Jones contributed five points on three goals and two assists, and Jeff Heath, Connor Frisina, and Dan Keane each added two goals apiece to support an offensive attack that tied the team’s season-high for goals. 

Brian Kormondy (below), who has scored a point in all 15 games this season, added three assists for the Blue Hens while Alex Martinelli added a goal and an assist. Delaware goalkeeper Conor Peaks stopped 10 shots and Tyler Mardian won 9 of 15 faceoff attempts after UD starter Tyler Barbarich, who had won 7 of his 10 draws, left the game in the first half with an injury.

Massachusetts, which needed a win to advance to the CAA Tournament, lost its fourth straight game to end its year with a mark of 7-6 (1-4 CAA). Nick Mariano led the Minutemen with three goals and two assists and Kyle Mooney recorded two goals and two assists.

“The offense hasn’t been clicking over the last several games but I was really pleased with the way we played tonight,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw. “We played unselfishly, moved the ball around, and really spread out the scoring. We got great looks and settled for the best look and that was the major reason for our success tonight. We are excited (to be going to the CAA Tournament). We have a major challenge ahead against Hofstra but we are juiced. We can’t wait to get a practice in on Sunday and head up to Hofstra on Wednesday.”

Delaware avenged a pair of consecutive losses to UMass, which had downed the Hens 17-6 in 2012 at Delaware Stadium and 16-8 last year. The wins was the Hens’ first over the Minutemen sine a 9-7 win in 2011at the CAA Championship game.

Delaware outshot the Minutemen by a slim 40-39 margin but dominated play on faceoffs (16-9) and groundballs (35-23). The Hens were whistled for seven penalties on the night and UMass converted on four man-up situations.

Despite playing in a downpour to start the game, the Blue Hens came out quickly, scoring four goals in a span of 2:35 to take a 5-0 lead after one quarter as Jones scored twice and dished out an assist on another score.

Another Jones goal early in the second period pushed the lead to 6-0 before the Minutemen rallied back, scoring three man-up goals in a span of just under three minutes to cut the lead to 8-4 at the break.

Delaware scored early in the second half to push the lead back to five, but UMass answered with goals by Mooney and Mariano to cut the margin to 9-6 with 7:37 remaining in the third stanza.

But that was as close as UMass would get the rest of the night as Holland, who had entered the game with just 11 total goals all season, led a four-goal charge into the final quarter to push the lead back to 13-6 and he scored again with 5:15 left to put the game out of reach. Among Holland’s goals was a highlight reel behind the back shot past UMass backup goalkeeper Reed Goodhue.

Delaware honored its six seniors in a pre-game ceremony as defenders Trip Ashley and James Connelly, midfielders Garrett Johnson and Connor McRoy, attackman Keane, and goalkeeper Chris Herbert were all introduced at midfield along with their parents and family members.