MANAGING SPORTS EDITOR
In his final career regular season home game, Delaware lacrosse Head Coach Bob Shillinglaw watched his team come up short, falling 10-6 to Towson on Saturday night.
Shillinglaw, who is retiring at the conclusion of this season, was honored before Saturday’s game by Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak. 500 of the 1851 fans in attendance received a t-shirt donning a caricature of the 39-year Delaware coach.
The loss is the third consecutive one for the 7-6 Blue Hens, who currently sit fifth out of six CAA teams. Only the top four teams make the CAA tournament.
In the annual battle between the I-95 rivals, Towson held a 5-3 halftime lead before Delaware outscored the Tigers 2-0 in the third quarter to tie the game. At the halfway point of the fourth quarter, Towson had already scored four goals to take a 9-5 lead. Delaware sophomore attacker Joe Eisele added a goal in the closing minutes, but the Blue Hens were outscored 5-1 in the final quarter.
“They got a couple possessions and made plays on it,” Shillinglaw said, on Towson. “I thought they did a great job of aggressively dodging the cage from one area of the field and got it to the backside and they made some shots. They ended up getting more possessions than us. They made it difficult for us to clear between the two restraining lines. We played too much defense.”
Delaware received goals from Hirschmann (15), Charlie Kitchen (24), Andrew Romagnoli (33), Kitchen (25) and Eisele (21). For the third consecutive game, all losses, the Blue Hens were outshot.
“It was disappointing,” Senior Captain Will Hirschmann said. “It’s always disappointing when you put yourself in a position to win a game and then let it slip out. We didn’t make the plays we needed to to win the game.”
Freshman Goalkeeper Matt DeLuca made 12 saves, but in the fourth quarter, Towson recorded 13 of their 35 shots. The Tigers maintained possession for the majority of the final frame.
“With Towson, Delaware playing, there’s intensity,” Shillinglaw said. “Guys are battling for every ground ball, playing hard, it was physical. There’s no question there will be a lot of sore bodies tomorrow.”
Yet the Hens won’t have too much time to dwell over their fifth loss to Towson in the last six years. After beating the previously No. 1 Rutgers on March 25, Delaware has lost all three of its conference games (Massachusetts, Hofstra and Towson).
With two games remaining in the regular season, emphasis on winning will be at a season-high.
“It’s gonna boil down to we have to win our last two games,” Shillinglaw said. “We beat Drexel, we beat Fairfield, we’re in the CAA tournament and at that point, we gotta be a spoiler. But right now we have to have a good practice on Monday to make Saturday work out.”
This coming Saturday the Blue Hens will face Drexel, and then on April 28, they’ll take on Fairfield –– both games on the road.
CAA tournament play begins Thursday, May 4. The number one overall CAA seed will host the tournament. Towson and Fairfield are tied at the top of the conference standings, followed by Hofstra, Drexel, Delaware and Massachusetts.
“We need to win these last two games,” Kitchen said. “That’s it. We need to win them.”