Six NCAA Tournament Teams, Five New Opponents Highlight University of Delaware 2014 Men's Soccer Schedule
NEWARK, Del. - The University of Delaware men’s soccer team released its 2014 schedule on Wednesday with the slate highlighted by 10 home games at newly-renovated Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium, six opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and a trip west to take on Pac 12 powers Stanford and California.
The Blue Hens are coming off one their finest seasons in school history in 2013 when the squad compiled 14 wins and reached the NCAA Tournament year for the second time in three seasons under head coach Ian Hennessy. Delaware received Top 25 recognition for much of the season and led the Colonial Athletic Association in attendance, drawing 1,000 or more fans four times.
“With the addition of our $1.5 million upgrade (to Grant Stadium), there is a continued sense of excitement about the men’s soccer program this fall,” said Hennessy. “It sends a strong statement about the game at the collegiate level in this country and I think that on the back of the World Cup this summer, we will continue to see record crowds at our home soccer games. We return our four top goal-scorers that had us ranked second in the nation in scoring. We expect to be a Top 25 program again, and with the addition of Stanford and Cal, I think our RPI will be among the strongest in the country.”
Delaware will take on six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, including national semifinalist Cal, third round participant Stanford, Southern Conference champion Elon, America East conference champion UMBC, and familiar Colonial Athletic Association foes Drexel and William & Mary.
Not included on that list is 2013 NCAA national runner-up Maryland, who the Blue Hens will play in an exhibition match in August in College Park, Md.
Sacred Heart, Long Island, Stanford, California, and CAA newcomers Elon are each on the Blue Hens’ schedule for the first time in program history this coming fall. Delaware will face 10 teams that had winning records and six that won 10 or more contests a year ago.
The games against Stanford and California will mark just the second and third time that Delaware has squared off against a Pac 12 foe. The Hens also traveled to the state of California to take on UCLA in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, falling to the host Bruins 1-0.
Delaware, which fell to Drexel in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament last season, will open CAA play at UNCW on Oct. 4 and open home CAA action Oct. 8 vs. James Madison.
With All-American Guillermo Delgado, Roberto Gimenez, Jaime Martinez, and Joe Dipre all coming back this fall, the Blue Hens return their top four goal scorers from the high-powered 2013 squad that ranked No. 2 nationally last season with 2.25 goals per game.
Last season, Delgado set new Delaware records for goals (15) and points (35) by a freshman in a single season and set a UD record by scoring a goal in five consecutive games. The forward was named CAA Rookie of the Year and also became the first Delaware freshman, and just the seventh Blue Hen all-time, to receive second team All-American honors.
Delaware also returns its starting goalkeeper in Borja Barbero (Valladolid, Spain/Apostolado). The rising senior was named to the All-CAA first team last season when he boasted a .737 save percentage, tallied a CAA-high 70 saves, and recorded five shutouts.
Delaware will open the season with exhibition games against Monmouth on Aug. 19 at home and on the road at Maryland on Aug. 23 before kicking off the regular season with a home contest against Sacred Heart on Aug. 29.