(Photo Courtesy of Delaware Athletics)
On this first round weekend, the best was saved for last. The Delaware Blue Hens, after beating Robert Morris in their play-in game on Wednesday, went into Washington, D.C. and pulled off the upset of the tournament, beating the second-seededGeorgetown Hoyas 10-9.
The victory marks Delaware’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2007 and sets up a quarterfinal matchup against Cornell in Columbus, Ohio next week. It is the second time the Blue Hens have taken down a No. 2 seed as they upset Virginia in the first round of the 2007 tournament before making a Championship Weekend run.
It was JP Ward who called game for the Blue Hens, finding himself in space and taking the feed from Drew Lenkaitis before sending a missile past Owen McElroy with just eight ticks left on the clock. Georgetown’s James Reilly won the ensuing faceoff, but Delaware wouldn’t allow the Hoyas to get anything in those final seconds as the buzzer sounded just seconds after Owen Grant grabbed the game-securing ground ball and a brood of Blue Hens descended upon Cooper Field.
Ward’s game-winner was the final goal in a sequence of three that made it possible for Delaware to get past the Hoyas. Drew Lenkaitis put one in with 3:29 remaining to answer what could possibly have been the dagger from Connor Morin, which had Georgetown in front 9-7 with 4:39 remaining.
Less than a minute after Lenkaitis put home his second of the day, Cam Acchione turned the corner, got above GLE, and found Tye Kurtz on the backside pipe to knot things all up at 9-9.
Georgetown won the ensuing faceoff following Kurtz’s score and and called a timeout with 2:01 remaining. They the possession and enough time to make something happen. However, out of the timeout, a Connor Morin pass sailed wide and out of bounds to give Delaware that final possession, which they certainly made the most of.
The Blue Hens’ offense came up huge early as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter, and late with those three scores to pull off the upset. Additionally, the play of the game, a rocket of a behind the back shot from Mike Robinson, came from the Delaware offense.
But despite the showing Drew Lenkaitis (2G/1A), Clay Miller (1G/2A), Mike Robinson (2G/1A), and Tye Kurtz (2G) had, it was the Delaware defense that impressed the most on Sunday night.
Anchored by a 14-save performance from Matt Kilkeary, the Delaware defense held Georgetown to single digits for only the second time this season. The only other team to do so is Princeton, who beat the Hoys 10-8 in early March.
Kilkeary made five of his saves during the first quarter, helping to set the stage for what would be a defensive battle. He also came up with four stops in the final frame, including a pair of late-game saves as he closed the door on both Graham Bundy, Jr. and Alex Trippi on consecutive Georgetown offensive possession to help provide extra energy down the stretch.
It wasn’t all Kilkeary, though. Owen Grant, who was matched up on Graham Bundy, Jr. the majority of the contest, ended the day with three caused turnovers and four ground balls. One of those caused turnovers came very early on in the game as he knocked the ball out of Bundy’s stick and less than a minute later Ward was putting home the first goal of the day on the other end.
All in all, the Delaware defense caused seven of the Hoyas’ 14 turnovers. They held Dylan Watson scoreless, who led the Hoyas with 58 goals on the season, scoreless for the first time this season.
Georgetown dominated the faceoff dot with James Reilly going 14-for-22 and from the 3:28 mark in the first through the 12:18 mark in the third, owned the game. An Alex Trippi score with 23 ticks left in the opening frame was the spark for what became a four-goal run through the 7:16 mark of the second. That final goal, a wild diving score from Graham Bundy, Jr. after surviving a beating from Owen Grant, gave Georgetown their first lead of the game.
From that point on, the Hoyas would not trail until Ward’s game-winner.
Bundy had a hat trick to lead the way for Georgetown. Alex Trippi had two goals and two assists. Owen McElroy made 12 saves in cage.