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Pirates corral Mustangs in Tuesday NOLL triumph
Kai Delventhal, Robby Lang
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Rocky River earned a Northern Ohio Lacrosse League victory over Strongsville Tuesday. A 5-0 second period vaulted the Pirates to a lead they would not relinquish on a night that marked Senior Night for the Double-R program. The Double-R would go on to win 7-5.

Senior defensemen Kai Delventhal and Robby Lang were honored pregame and would loom large in River defending its lead and holding the Mustangs to the fewest goals for a Pirate opponent since March 29 (five vs. Mentor). The son of Mark and Erin Delventhal registered a pair of key ground balls and a well-timed clear in the victory. The son of Rob and Sarah Lang tallied two scoops and a spill and nearly added his sixth career goal on what was a chilled, overcast evening at Rocky River Stadium.

"As a new coach to a program, you only hope to have seniors who lead like Kai and Robby," said head coach Griffin Vehar.

That duo's teammates up and down the field were sharp in maintaining possession time and limiting Strongsville shots when the visitors did come within range of the River cage. The Pirates (5-6, 4-3 NOLL) turned a 1-0 first-quarter deficit into a 5-1 lead by halftime. They led 7-3 through the third and then buckled down after the Mustangs scored two early-period goals in the fourth. For the first time this season, River was on the right side of the turnover exchange: the Pirates were a plus-5 in that department (14, 19). The Double-R was a sharp 13-of-16 on clears while riding the Mustangs to a 10-of-15 figure. And juniors Mack Massad and Matthew Malloy combined to go 10-6 across 16 faceoffs.

River's big five-goal second stanza included netfinders from five different scorers. With a goal and an assist each over that stretch, Massad and junior Ryan Hildebrand chipped in with two points. Massad would get a third point in the third when he tallied the Pirates' sixth goal of the contest. He now has 14 goals and five assists this season.

Mustangs sophomore Vinci Adams netted three goals in the game.

The defense for the Sons of Blackbeard kept junior goalkeeper Carter Smith upright and unbothered most of the night. Smith would see just seven of Strongsville's 12 shots. Both figures marked season bests for a River squad that snapped a four-game losing skid with the victory.

And with greybeards Delventhal and Lang patrolling the grounds near the River cage, that win via defensive excellence made sense.


: Kai Delventhal and Robby Lang, both captains this season, are both four-year members of the program and winners of multiple letters each. Both have also represented Rocky River in other sports (Delventhal primarily in Football but also in Wrestling, Lang primarily in Boys basketball but also in Boys Golf) and have earned accolades on and off the field. Through Tuesday's action, Delventhal has registered 48 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers in his career. Lang -- a first-team all-NOLL performer a year ago -- has authored five goals, an assist, 89 GB and 53 CT.

: "[Kai and Robby] are an extension of our coaching staff. Their legacy within the program will last long after they graduate." -- Griffin Vehar.

by Skip Snow

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