Newark, DE – The University of Delaware Blue Hens were firing on all cylinders Saturday night as they captured their biggest win in recent years over #12 Towson, 11-5. Delaware used three first half goals from Cam Howard to jump out to a 6-0 start. Any thoughts Towson had of storming back in this game were turned away by Delaware’s player of the game Chris Collins, who stopped 19 Towson shots with any part of his body he could. Towson goalie Reed Sothoron kept the score respectable by contributing 14 saves. Eight different Blue Hens notched points, while Towson was well balanced with seven different contributors on only five goals.
For whatever reason, Towson didn’t show up to play on Saturday night, unfortunately for them Delaware did in a major way. Delaware came out fired up and excited and showed life throughout the frigid night. The only emotion on the Towson sideline seemed to be coming from the coaches at either the refs or the lackluster play. A theme started early and got stronger as the night went on: Towson started the game with a quick possession and ended just as quickly on a Chris Collins save. Delaware was awarded a man-down shortly after. On the man-up, Delaware’s Joe Trentzch held the ball up-top, seemingly waiting for the defense to slide. Instead, Trentzch waited and ripped a sidearm shot past Sothoron’s right shoulder giving Delaware an early lead barely a minute into the game. Following the face-off, Towson gained possession and again was denied by Collins.
Delaware would control the rest of the first quarter, notching two more goals. The first at the 8:44 mark as Dave Powers notched another man-up goal. Cam Howard contributed his first of the night 2:20 later. Howard beat Sothoron with a nice righty jump-bounce shot (someone needs to come up with an easier name for this shot). Just :09 after Howard’s first, Alex Smith pushed a fast break and Delaware hit the crossbar in the transition. At 5:42 the Blue Hens again dinged the crossbar again. Just like that, the game could have been 5-0 in the first, but Delaware just missed blowing the game open.
The Blue Hens wasted no time to start the second period either. 1:51 in, Andy Hipple took a feed from Drew Turner on a fast break. Hipple used a dip-and-dunk to stretch the lead to 4. Less than a minute later, Howard contributed his 2nd of the night. Howard drove from X through a pick set by a teammate. He beat his man top-side and ripped a side-arm shot into the back of the net. 5-0 Delaware. Just 19:37 into the game, Howard completed his hat trick. This time he took a feed from Dave Powers and made the difficult finish in traffic putting Delware up 6-0.
Towson would show offensive life later in the quarter. It took Towson 25:47 to get on the scoreboard. Their first goal came off a Kyle Fiat feed as Nick Williams added his second goal of the season. Just over a minute later, Towson again cut into the lead. On a man-up opportunity Oliver Bacon took the ball underneath the GLE and pushed back above it ultimately finishing it to cut the Delaware lead to 4. Delaware possessed a four goal lead heading into the intermission, but traditionally against a team like Towson -that’s nothing to bank on. Towson has always been a team that relies on a style of play that pushes the ball and scores in bunches. In the team’s media guide, Coach Tony Seaman himself says, “we don’t hold on to the ball very much on the offensive end because we go right to the goal.” The offense never seemed to be able to get into a rhythm and it didn’t help that Collins was who they had to beat tonight.
As boring as it is to write again, the second half began with a sustained Towson possession. They had the ball for about two minutes, and then eventually Collins saved their attempt. Delaware’s 7th goal of the game would come from Drew Turner 4:45 into the 2nd half. The Blue Hens’ attempt at their 8th again pinged off the pipe 20 seconds following Turner’s goal. Following this, Towson kept fighting to make a game of it. Steve Mull drove hard from X with 8:30 to go in the 3rd. He beat his man top-side and finished with a nice lefty. For an unknown reason, Towson’s returning leading scorer Jonathan Engelke did not play. While Towson’s website says Mull has started 5 games this year, it would seem that this was his first game starting at attack as all three top scorers are also listed as attackmen. In any case, Delaware called for the defender guarding Mull to go out and pressure him. Mull made him pay by beating him.
Shortly after Mull’s goal, Collins made a big save to once again stifle the Towson offense. In response, Towson Captain Adam Cummins brought the ball down in a slow-break situation. The ball was worked around to Bobby Griebe who drove across the GLE. He wasn’t able to get a shot off and Cummins picked up the loose ball. The longstick ripped a low shot, bringing Towson as close as they would be all night, 7-4 with 7:34 in the quarter. Delaware would again find the pipe two minutes later when trying to respond two minutes later. Fighting to get the momentum back, UDel added two goals :34 apart to send the game into the final quarter, 9-4. The first came on a man-up from Marty Kupprion. The second game after Delaware LSM Bobby West brought the ball up in an unsettled situation. West was stripped around the restraining line. Andy Hipple came up with the looseball all alone and put it in the back of the net.
To start the 4th, Towson had a man advantage. As the Delaware coaching staff clearly pointed out Towson started in a 2-3-1 and would carry it into a 3-3. Despite knowing exactly what they were going to do all night on this play, Towson still found open men on the crease. Unfortunately they couldn’t finish it often enough. Delaware was successful in stopping 6 of 8 man-down opportunities. Whereas the Blue Hens capitalized on 4 of 6 man-up chances.
At some point around this time, feeling was lost in my fingers and the note-taking suffered. Towson did capitalize on a man-up early in the 4th, cutting the lead to 4. This is where the play of Collins was even more magnified as a mental lapse on the part of Joe Trentzsch of Delaware gave Towson another man-up opportunity. Trentzsch attempted the fabled “rusty gate”, but didn’t get stick and was awarded a yellow flag. Luckily, Collins came up with some nice saves and Towson felt UDel’s pain as they hit a pipe of their own.
With about 10 minutes to go, the Delaware D came up with a big stop and save by Collins, this led into Delaware’s 10th goal of the night. Towson wouldn’t go away quietly as they managed to get good looks at the UDel cage. At this point Collins stopped the ball with whatever he wanted as he deflected two Towson shots off of his shaft with about 8:30 to play. For UDel, Trentzsch would get a chance at slight redemption adding his second goal of the night on a low-to-high rip past Sothoron’s stick-side.
While Delaware did seem to dominate the game, Towson possessed a 10 groundball advantage. That was countered by four more turnovers and Towson’s inability to capitalize on the man-ups (going 2-8). Both teams had plenty of looks at the net with Delaware taking 45 shots to Towson’s 41. Collins outdid Sothoron (14 saves) with 19 saves, and most importantly 8 when they counted – the fourth quarter. In Delaware’s defense, they could have blown the game open a bit had their five pipeshots gone in. However, Towson’s offense could have been better with Engelke. It seemed to miss a beat without his presence.
It’ll be interesting to see how both teams respond. Delware was coming off an up-and-down week as they played #5 Georgetown tightly but lost, and then found themselves eking out a one-goal win at home against Manhattan. They showed their character through their intensity tonight. For Towson, now they are coming off two size-able losses (14-3 loss to Virginia a week ago). The next few games will be telling, but don’t count the reigning CAA champs out just yet. Tony Seaman has been doing this for long enough that he’ll figure out what’s going wrong and get the Tigers back into the playoffs where they’ll hope to get another shot at the Blue Hens.
|Cam Howard||(3, 1)|
|Joe Trentzsch||(2, 0)|
|Andy Hipple||(2, 0)|
|Dave Powers||(1, 1)|
|Drew Turner||(1, 1)|
|Dan Deckelbaum||(1, 0)|
|Jordan Hall||(0, 1)|
|Marty Kupprion||(1, 0)|
|Chris Collins||19 (0.792)|