Kevin M. Neibauer
LaxPhilly – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Delaware Fighin’ Blue Hens (11-5) blew open a close game with a 7-3 run over the final three quarters to defeat the Shawn Nadelen Coached, Towson Tigers (7-9) 11-5, winning the Colonial Athletic Conference, and secure an automatic place in the NCAA Tournament.
To the Action:
The tournament was held at Vidas Field on the campus of Drexel University. Heavy rain and winds made for miserable conditions but Delaware was not deterred.
After a long battle on the opening face-off, Joe Speers came out with ball and hit Tye Kurtz (6g) to start his record setting day putting Delaware in front with 14:39 to play. Clay Miller (1g) bagged his 23rd when he exploited a gap in the Towson defense to make it a two goal advantage. Luke Shilling (2g,2a) responded 2:36 later with his 20th of the season, and the battle was on. Mike Robinson (1g) then put the Hens up 3-1.
Towson fired back when Shilling found Kyle Berkeley (1g), complimented with Nick DeMaio (1g) leveling the score 3-3. JP Ward (2a) picked up his first of two helpers on Kurtz’ 36th to close the opening stanza with a 4-3 Delaware lead.
The Hens Take Over:
A 4-1 Second signalled doom for the Tigers. It started with Kurtz notching his hat-trick with Josh Webber (1g) countering to keep it a one goal contest.
Kurtz, Kyle Kivinski (1g) and then Kurtz again with his third of the stanza, ended the half with an 8-4 Blue Hens edge.
Both teams came out of the lockers seemingly flat. Kurtz registered the only third quarter marker at the 3:34 mark that padded the lead to 9-4 heading to the final 15:00.
Wind it Down:
The lead went to six when Mark Bieda (1g) hit net. Chop Gallagher (1g) tried to start a rally but Delaware would have none of that. Cam Acchione (1g) recorded his 9th in response to Gallagher, with Brandan Hund (1g) setting the plate for the game’s only special teams marker with Shilling closing the book on the scoring with a shorthanded score.
“It was an absolute full team effort top to bottom,” said Kurtz, the senior from Ontario. “… I was fortunate that the bounces were coming my way but none of that happens without the whole team effort.”
News and Notes:
• The outcome marks the fourth CAA title for Delaware with the others coming in 2007, 2010 and 2011.
• It is the first win for Ben Deluca since he became Coach in 2017.
• Kurtz tied a tournament record with his six goal performance. Mike Robinson also hit rope 6 times in the Semi-Final victory over Drexel.
• Shots heavily leaned the way Delaware way, 42-29 with The Hens having more on net, 26 to just 12 for Towson.
• Turnovers had 20 for the Tigers and Delaware turning it over 17 times. Ground Balls had 29 for Delaware to the 22 for the Tigers.
• Delaware had the upper hand with a 14-7 face off advantage. Logan Premtaj posted 12 of 19.
• Extra Man Ops revealed neither team scoring with Towson having three tries while Delaware was blanked on their 7 attempts.
• Shane Brennan stopped 15 Delaware shots with counterpart, Matt Kilkeary turning away a half dozen for Delaware.
The Hens now wait to find out who and when they play when the NCAA Tournament schedule is announced May 8.
Delaware Wins CAA.
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.