Thursday, September 29, 2022

Charlie Kitchen: Growing Everyday

SportsMen's LacrosseCharlie Kitchen: Growing Everyday

2018 UD v TU_MLAX-134
Courtesy of University of Delaware Athletics
Charlie Kitchen enters his senior season with high hopes for his team.

Associate Sports Editor

Standing at 6-foot 4-inches, 215 pounds, senior attackman Charlie Kitchen is a force on the lacrosse field. However, it has not always been that way his whole life.

As a child, Kitchen played baseball through first grade. Heading into second grade, he realized that his own fate would be in the hand of another person pitching to him. That realization made Kitchen change his mind, leading him to try lacrosse.

“I just decided to try something new and play lacrosse,” Kitchen said. “I ended up loving it.”

JF1D4038b Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
Kitchen started lacrosse early on in his life.

Kitchen, a native of Marlton, New Jersey,would go on to play four years of high school lacrosse at St. Augustine Prep. He played on the junior varsity team his freshman year and was named to the varsity roster his sophomore season.

Even after being named to the roster, people around Kitchen did not expect him to play lacrosse past high school.

“In my freshman and sophomore year I was undersized,” Kitchen said. “My parents didn’t think I’d play in college.”

Heading into his junior and senior year of high school, Kitchen saw obvious growth in both his height and weight. Heading into his junior year, Kitchen had grown six inches. Then, going into his senior year, Kitchen gained 40 pounds.

IMG_4255 Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
Kitchen’s growth helped him get to Delaware.

The results spoke for themselves on the field. Kitchen totaled 80 points during his senior season after combining for 55 points in his first two seasons on the varsity team.

However, Kitchen attributes this jump in production to not only his physical growth, but the players that he was able to play with at St. Augustine. Kitchen had the opportunity to play with Dean Disimone and Joe Eisele his sophomore and junior year, two guys that he would eventually be reunited with at Delaware.

“They were always one of the best guys, so I always just helped them,” Kitchen said. “My senior year I didn’t really have those guys anymore, so I had to kind of do it and that is where I learned everything I did.”

After committing to Delaware with other Division I and Division II offers on the table, Kitchen had set his mind to be able to play for the Blue Hens his freshman year. Heading into the fall, Kitchen had not been considered at all to play in the spring and was looking at being redshirted.

Kitchen noticed the subtle differences in high school and college lacrosse. For one thing, the game was a lot faster in college. The other was the talent around him and the other athletes that had been recruited alongside him by the program.

“It’s a lot more competition and competing for spots,” Kitchen said. “Just being here and competing for a spot was definitely fun and earning one was even more fun.”

After overcoming the odds and getting a spot on the team, Kitchen showed his worth. In his freshman season, Kitchen started all 15 games, scored 28 goals, notched 14 assists and totaled 42 points on the season.

Over the next two seasons, Kitchen only improved, putting up 52 points his sophomore year and then breaking out in his junior season putting up 64 points, with 37 goals and 27 assists. He was top ranked among the top five in all three categories in the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA). His junior year he was named First Team All-CAA and CAA Offensive Player of the Year.

2018 UD v TU_MLAX-74 Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
Kitchen was named CAA Offensive Player of the Year last season.

For Kitchen, earning such an award is all thanks to his teammates.

“It was just due to Matt [Deluca] making saves, our defense doing a great job, our faceoff guys winning faceoffs, Tye [Kurtz] and Joey [Lenskold] finishing the ball, it was just a big team part,” Kitchen said. “We went 10-5 and I think that was the first time I’ve had a positive winning percentage in college.”

Now going into his senior season, Kitchen is all-in on winning and all-in on getting better everyday to help his team get to its ultimate goal: a conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

In his time playing both high school and college lacrosse, Kitchen has grown both literally and as a player on the field. This was no easy path for Kitchen to get where he is now, but when reflecting upon his thoughts coming into Delaware, the drive to be great and love of the sport has always been with Kitchen.

“I expected nothing of myself, but I expected it to be much harder of a challenge and it is, it is very mentally and physically taxing,” Kitchen said. “But if you’re about it 100%, you’re going to have fun with it.”

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