BY RYAN GIBB
Rivals collided as No. 1 seed Delaware hosted No. 4 Towson in a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) men’s lacrosse semifinal Thursday at Delaware Stadium. Coming off a 15-10 loss to Towson on Apr. 29, Delaware capitalized on its home field advantage as the top seed, grinding out a redemptive 11-8 win against the Tigers.
The victory marked the Blue Hens’ first time hosting a CAA tournament game since 2005, when they lost to Towson in the conference championship.
Delaware heads to its second straight CAA title game, where No. 3 Stony Brook awaits after the Seawolves’ defeat of Drexel in Thursday’s second semifinal. The Hens are in search of their fifth CAA championship overall and second under league Coach of the Year Ben DeLuca.
To preserve that pursuit, Delaware overcame one of its largest deficits of the season after a rocky start.
Towson came out of the gates with a full head of steam, tallying three unanswered goals by the 10-minute mark of the first quarter. With no panic in its play in the 3-0 hole, Delaware rallied to a 6-5 halftime lead thanks to a hat trick from attacker JP Ward, goals from midfielders Jason Kolar and Cam Acchione, and a rare score by CAA Defensive Player of the Year Owen Grant.
Unassisted goals by faceoff man Logan Premtaj and midfielder Nick Jessen gave the Blue Hens breathing room in the third until Towson’s star midfielder, Kyle Berkeley, notched a tandem of goals to make it 8-7 in favor of Delaware.
After attacker Tye Kurtz scored his 47th goal of the season with 2:24 remaining in the third stanza, senior attacker Mike Robinson fired up the home crowd with a missile that gave the Hens a 10-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Each team scored once in the final 15 minutes, as Robinson put a bow on it for Delaware with his score with 6:39 to go.
A string of staunch defensive possessions paired with dynamic offense, plus a dose of composure, earned Delaware its 11th overall win in 2023 and its seventh CAA championship game appearance all-time.
The Blue Hens’ opening faceoff versus Stony Brook is set for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, May 6. Live coverage begins at 3:15 p.m. on 91.3 FM WVUD HD-2 The Basement and wvud.org.