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posted 03.26.2012 at 10.10 p.m. by Gary Lambrecht

Hens Might Not Be Able to Recover From Slow Start

The Delaware men's lacrosse team has been down this road before. Over the past five years, the Blue Hens typically have been a slow-starting bunch that have gotten their act together in time to make a late-season run in the Colonial Athletic Conference and reach the NCAA tournament.

Last year, Delaware stumbled into the CAA tournament with six losses, after suffering back-to-back blowout defeats to Penn State and UMass, before upsetting Hofstra and UMass to win the league and reach the Big Dance, where it nearly knocked off Duke in the first round. Heck, back in 2007, the Blue Hens barely made the CAA tournament as a no. 4 seed, then won two straight on the road, before ending up in their first-ever NCAA tournament final four.

After Saturday's 13-8 whipping at the hands of Towson, however, Delaware might be pushing the envelope too far. The Blue Hens (3-6, 0-2 in the CAA) were a curiously inconsistent, turnover-laden crew a couple of weeks ago. Now, they are simply in big trouble. Delaware, which has beaten Bucknell and Villanova, and gave top-ranked Johns Hopkins fits last month, has now dropped three straight and six of its last seven.

"We're trying to make that special play, but instead of skipping a pass through the defense we're just throwing it away," said Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw, referring to Delaware's average of 18 turnovers per game. "We want to push it. That's what we do. But we're still trying to find that happy medium between playing fast and playing reckless. We seem to do our best when our backs are to the wall. Well, we're definitely touching the wall."

Delaware most likely will need to win the CAA to reach the NCAAs via automatic bid. But unless they turn things around soon, the Blue Hens won't be invited to the conference dance.