Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/4/17
From Press Release
It didn’t take long for heartbreak to find the University of Delaware men’s lacrosse team Saturday afternoon. The silver lining is that it brought about a ton of optimism for the remainder of the season.
After forging ahead to a five-goal lead midway through the third quarter, the Blue Hens found goals tough to come by the rest of the game and dropped a tough 14-13 nail-biter to Bucknell in the season opener for both teams at Delaware Stadium.
Bucknell (1-0) scored the first four goals of the final stanza to take the lead and had to hold off a strong comeback attempt by Delaware (0-1) in the final minutes to escape with the victory. The Bison got off 54 shots on the day and got big efforts from Sean O’Brien with six goals, Reed Malas with three goals and two assists, and Will Sands with two goals and five assists.
Delaware’s offense, which averaged just 8.16 goals per game a year ago, was impressive for the first three quarters as the Hens built leads of 6-4 after the first quarter and 9-6 at halftime and built its biggest lead at 11-6 with 7:57 left in third quarter before the Bison mounted their comeback. The Hens managed just two goals over the final 23 minutes of action.
Three different Blue Hens notched hat tricks as sophomore Andrew Romagnoli scored four times and dished out an assist, sophomore Joe Eisele (St. Augustine Prep) netted a career-high three goals, and freshman Charlie Kitchen (St. Augustine Prep) scored four times and dished out two assists in his collegiate debut.
“Little things make all the difference in the world, we just have to get better as some finer things on both sides of the ball,” said an optimistic Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw following the game. “It’s a game of spurts. I love our guys, they work their tails off. This has been a very rewarding preseason and our guys put a lot of effort into it. They were disappointed to have the opportunity slip away today so we will learn from this experience. One down, lets keep going. We’ll bounce back Monday and be ready to go next week.”
Bucknell’s O’Brien scored three times in the final stanza, including a goal with 12:22 left to tie the score at 12-12 and another tally with 2:48 left that put the Bison up 14-12. Delaware battled back as Eisele scored his third goal of the game with 1:14 left after grabbing his own rebound. The Hens had two chances to score in the final seconds but they turned the ball over with six seconds left and got the ball back but couldn’t get a shot off.
Matt Olbrich (Moorestown) added a goal and an assist and Trupert Ortlieb (Episcopal Academy) scored once.
• Delaware was outshot 54-35 but got 16 off in the opening quarter on the way to the 6-4 lead
• Despite the high score, it was a clean game as Bucknell had just six turnovers and the Hens committed just nine
• Bucknell, which earned votes in the preseason USILA Coaches Poll, is coming off a 10-win season in 2016 and has posted nine winning seasons in the last 10
• Delaware is looking to bounce back after consecutive five-win seasons
• Shillinglaw announced Thursday that he will retire following the 2017 season. He is currently in his 39th season at Delaware and his 42nd overall as a college head coach
• Delaware’s 13 goals were the most on opening day since a 19-6 win over Detroit Mercy in 2012
• Kitchen, a freshman attack from Marlton, N.J. (St. Augustine Prep), became the first UD freshman to score four goals in his collegiate debut