PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Delaware field hockey team will make its second straight appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament this week as the Blue Hens have earned the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 seed William & Mary this Friday, Nov. 2, at 10:30 a.m. in the quarterfinals at Drexel University.
The Blue Hens (7-11), who won three of their final four games to qualify for the tournament for the second straight year under second-year head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof, will be looking to avenge a 4-0 regular season loss to William & Mary back on Sept. 28 in Williamsburg, Va. The Tribe enters the tournament with a record of 10-8.
The tournament was originally scheduled to begin on Thursday, Oct. 31, but dates were altered due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy.
The entire six-team tournament will be hosted by top seed Drexel University at Buckley Field this weekend. In the other first round game Friday, No. 6 seed Hofstra (7-11) will take on No. 3 seed James Madison (10-7) at 1 p.m.
The Delaware-William & Mary winner will take on No. 1 seed and nationally 23rd-ranked Drexel (13-6) in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 3 while the winner of the JMU-Hofstra game will take on No. 2 seed Northeastern (13-5). Times for the two semifinal games are yet to be determined.
The winners will meet on Sunday or Monday in the championship game with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The date and time of the title game will be determined later this week.
Tickets are $5 for adults. Free admission will be offered to youth under 12 and students of participating CAA schools with a valid college ID.
No. 9 ranked Old Dominion went 12-4 this season and was a perfect 7-0 in league play this season but was not eligible for CAA Tournament play as the Monarchs are leaving the league following this season to join Conference USA.
Delaware, which last captured the CAA title in 2009, did not qualify for the tournament in 2010 and fell to James Madison in the opening round last season.
The Blue Hens, who feature 12 freshmen on the 25-team roster, faced one of the nation’s most difficult schedules this season as Delaware played 10 Top 25 opponents, including a No. 18 ranked Drexel team that Delaware defeated 4-2 back on Oct. 19 at Buckley Field.
Delaware is led offensively by sophomore Kelsey McKee, who led the squad with 11 goals, including seven over the final six games. Also leading the offense is freshman Michaela Patzner (six goals), junior Toni Popinko (three), senior Nikki Onorato (four), and junior Kasey Prettyman (three). Defensively, junior goalkeeper Sarah Scher has posted a 2.92 goals against average and a .642 save percentage in 13 starts.
Live video and live stats for each of the five CAA Tournament games will be available on the CAA website at www.caasports.com and at www.bluehens.com.