Delaware Gets Healthy, Hands UMBC First Loss of the Season


Tye Kurtz had four goals and two assists as Delaware beat UMBC, 17-11, to snap a two-game losing streak.

NEWARK, Del. — Mike Robinson only played for 21 seconds on Tuesday night, but the return of the senior helped spark Delaware to a 17-11 victory over previously unbeaten UMBC at Delaware Stadium, snapping the Blue Hens two-game losing streak.

Robinson, the Blue Hens’ leading goal-scorer last season, missed the previous three games with an injury before coming in for an extra-man opportunity late in the first half. Robinson buried his only shot of the game, breaking a 7-7 tie to give the Blue Hens (4-2) an 8-7 halftime lead.

“It’s nice to have him back,” said Delaware head coach Ben DeLuca. “He just brings so much to the team. His presence, it’s so energetic. We’re just trying to ease him back in from the injury he sustained. He’s been chomping at the bit, and we’re excited to see him back on the field.”

UMBC came into the game leading the country in scoring defense, allowing just 5.3 goals per game in its four victories. Its goalie, Jayson Tingue, entered the contest ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division I lacrosse in both save percentage (65.5) and goals against average (4.82).

Tingue made nine saves in the first half, but Delaware carried the momentum of Robinson’s goal and broke the game open with seven straight goals to open the second half.

“We really worked on moving the ball, sharing it and capitalizing on shots,” DeLuca said. “Our offense has done a good job of generating opportunities, but at least recently, we haven’t done a great job of scoring them as much as we would like. I think we did that tonight against a very good unit. They slide and recover very efficiently. They do a very good job of making you move the ball, not really giving up unassisted goals.”

It was a much-needed win for a Delaware team that entered 2023 with sky-high expectations after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago. Back-to-back losses to Villanova and Michigan had staggered the Blue Hens after three comfortable wins to open the season.

Delaware has a road trip to Johns Hopkins remaining, but the Hens path back to the NCAA tournament will likely have to come through the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware opens CAA play on Saturday, hosting league-newcomer Monmouth.

“One at a time,” DeLuca said. “I’m hopeful that our group will have learned from the experience we had last year (dropping its first two league games) and understands the importance of each conference game. Conference is critical for postseason hopes. For us, the main focus is to get healthy and get our guys back on the field playing together and playing at a high level.”

If Robinson can come back healthy, the Blue Hens will be back to featuring one of the most dangerous, and unappreciated, attack trios in the country with Robinson, Tye Kurtz and JP Ward.

“I love those guys,” DeLuca said. “They have great chemistry and they work well together. I think it’s a good amount of balance with JP behind the goal, Mike on the left side and Tye on the right side. Tye’s just been fantastic for us, particularly in Mike’s absence.”

Kurtz and Ward played big roles on Tuesday night with Kurtz netting a team-high four goals to go along with a pair of assists and Ward dishing out three assists in addition to scoring a goal.

Delaware defenseman Owen Grant had four caused turnovers to give him 100 for his career and Rolan Hockebery won 15 of 25 faceoffs. Matt Kilkeary made five of his six saves in the second half as Delaware pulled away.

Mateo Brown led UMBC with four goals and Jordan Galloway and Allen Hockenberry each scored twice. Tingue made 13 saves for the Retrievers (4-1).


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