Towson vs. Delaware
May 3, 2006
The Game Story:
TOWSON, MD -- Junior Dan Deckelbaum’s third goal of the game with just four seconds left to play lifted No. 19 University of Delaware to a thrilling 13-12 victory over No. 12 Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association men’s lacrosse semifinals Wednesday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, sending the Blue Hens to the CAA title game for the second straight year.

Deckelbaum, Delaware’s leading goal scorer with 30 on the season, broke a 12-12 tie as fired a shot past Towson goalkeeper Mark DeGroat from 12 yards out, setting off a wild Blue Hen celebration. Towson’s Matt Eckerl won the ensuing faceoff but did not have enough time to get a shot off before the final horn.

Delaware, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, advances to the CAA championship game where the Hens will take on top seed and No. 2 ranked Hofstra Saturday evening, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Hempstead, NY. Hofstra advanced with a 14-7 win over No. 4 seed Villanova Wednesday night. The winner of the Delaware-Hofstra game will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with the loser in line for consideration for an at-large berth. Hofstra defeated Delaware 12-10 back on April 14 on Long Island.

The Blue Hens (12-4), who avenged a 9-8 loss to Towson in last year’s CAA title game in Newark, DE and an 11-7 setback earlier this season at Towson, won their third straight game and won at Towson for the first time since the 2000. season Deckelbaum led the way with three goals while Cam Howard had a career-high seven points on two goals and five assists - all in the first hall - and Jordan Hall and Adam Zuder-Havens each scored twice. Blue Hen goalkeeper Tommy Scherr came up big in the nets, turning back a season-high 17 shots. Howard also extended his point-scoring streak to 22 straight games.

Towson (8-6), which lost its second straight game despite outshooting the Blue Hens 48-33, got three goals from Brian Vetter while Phil Grillo, Bobby Griebe, and Oliver Bacon each scored twice and Steve Mull dished out four assists. The three-time defending CAA champion Tigers lost their first ever CAA Tournament game in seven tries.

It was a goal by Bacon with just 31 seconds left to play that tied the game at 12-12. Delaware’s Alex Smith, the national leader in faceoffs at 71.1 percent, then won the faceoff and eventually got the ball to Deckelbaum for the game-winner. The goal was Deckelbaum’s second final-minute game-winner of the season as he helped lead the Hens to a 9-8 win over Drexel on April 1 on a goal with 15 seconds remaining.

“What a game,” said Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw, who hopes to lead the Blue Hens to their first-ever CAA title and first conference crown since 1999 vs. Hofstra. “Everyone here tonight got their money’s worth. Both teams played their hearts out. I’m proud of our guys. They could have hung their heads after that goal by Bacon but they finished the job. Lacrosse is that type of game, with a lot of runs, and we both made them. Fortunately we came out on top at the end.”

While the first half featured 18 goals with the Hens taking a 10-8 lead at intermission, the second half couldn’t have been more different. Both teams settled down on defense and just seven goals were scored, including the two in the final 31 seconds.

Towson jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Nick Williams and Grillo in the first 2:09, but the Blue Hens exploded for seven straight goals to take a 7-2 lead with 11:59 left in the first half. Howard assisted on four straight goals and then scored his first to up the lead to 7-2.

Towson then followed by scoring three straight goals and four of the next five to cut the lead to 8-6 with 7:33 remaining. After Howard gave Delaware a 9-6 lead, Towson answered with goals by Kyle Fiat and Griebe to narrow the margin to 9-8. A goal by Delaware’s Vincent Giordano off a Howard feed with only four seconds left in the opening half gave UD a 10-8 lead at intermission.

Vetter scored both of Towson’s third quarter goals, cutting the lead to 10-9 with 11:30 remaining and to 11-10 with 6:53 left. Delaware’s Zuder-Havens scored with 7:15 remaining in the stanza to keep the Hens in front.

Grillo scored off a feed from Mull with 12:02 left to play to tie the score at 11-11 but neither team scored again until Zuder-Havens picked up a loose ball and scored on a back-hander from five yards out past DeGroat with just 2:09 left to give Delaware the 12-11 advantage. Bacon’s goal with 31 seconds left tied the game for the third time with 31 seconds left before Deckelbaum answered with the game-clincher.