WASHINGTON — Delaware’s men’s lacrosse program has made some noise in the NCAA Tournament before.
It’s just been a while.
But on Sunday night the underdog Blue Hens reminded people what they’re capable of by stunning No. 2-seeded Georgetown, 10-9, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Tournament.
In a win reminiscent of Delaware’s upset of No. 2 Virginia in 2007 — the last time the Hens advanced in the tourney — UD reeled off the final three goals of the night to shock the Hoyas.
The winning goal came after a turnover by Georgetown (15-2) with 1:13 remaining. Holding for the final shot, Delaware got the ball to J.P. Ward who fired in the game-winner just under the crossbar with only eight seconds remaining.
A few minutes later, Delaware’s players were storming onto the Cooper Field turf to celebrate their improbably victory. The Hens had been 0-9 all-time against Georgetown.
“They believed before we even stepped on the field,” said Delaware coach Ben DeLuca. “They worked their tails off for this opportunity. Our guys worked incredibly hard for this chance and fought every step of the way.
“That’s a really good team — very well-coached, very talented,” he said about Georgetown. “Our guys really believe in each other. They scrapped, they fought, they did what was needed to be done.”
Delaware (13-5) will take a seven-game winning streak with it when it faces No. 7 Cornell next Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, at noon in the national quarterfinals.
The Hens’ last lead was its only advantage of the second half after they trailed 6-5 at halftime.
Goals from Drew Lenkaitis with 3:29 remaining and then from Tye Kurtz with 2:13 left pulled Delaware even at 9-9.
The Hens also got a highlight-reel, behind-the-head goal from Mike Robinson in the fourth quarter. They out-scored the Hoyas, 4-1, in the final 15 minutes.
"You can hear all of the alumni that have been through this program in the stands," said Kurtz. "We put the building blocks in place. No one believed we could do it besides the guys in that locker room. This means so much."
Goalie Matt Kilkeary also came up big a number of times to keep the Hoyas from extending their lead. He finished with 14 saves.
“I can’t say enough about Matt Kilkeary in goal,” said DeLuca. “As a senior, this is his moment. The guys rallied behind him.”
After the start of the game was delayed 45 minutes because of lightning, Delaware got off to a flying start.
The Hens jumped out to lead of 3-0 and 4-1 against the Hoyas. Four different players scored for Delaware with Robinson’s goal making it 4-1 with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
But the Hoyas answered with two quick goals in the final 23 seconds to end the quarter before turning it into a four-goal run and a 5-4 second-quarter advantage.
Delaware was able to knot the score at 5-5 on a goal from Lenkaitis with 4:50 left in the second quarter.
Georgetown, however, answered with a goal with just 1:43 remaining to go up 6-5 at halftime.
Georgetown had been 5-0 against the Hens in Washington, D.C. Hoyas’ head coach Kevin Warne was an assistant coach at Delaware from 2001-04.