RICHMOND, Va.  --  The University of Delaware women’s soccer program, which is looking to make its fourth straight appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament this fall, has been picked No. 6 in the CAA Preseason Coaches Poll announced Wednesday.

The Blue Hens, who welcome back 13 players with starting experience, will celebrate their 25th season this fall. After hosting George Mason (Aug. 14) and George Washington (Aug. 16) in two scrimmages, the Hens will open the regular season at home on Aug. 22 vs. Monmouth at newly-named Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium.

Hofstra, which placed fourth in the CAA regular season a year ago and returns seven starters, is favored to win the CAA as the Pride received three first-place votes and 74 total points in the tight voting.

James Madison was picked second with 71 points and four first-place votes, William & Mary was third with 70 points and two first-place votes, and defending league champion Northeastern was fourth with 57 points and one first-place vote. UNCW was fifth (48 points) followed by Delaware (40), Drexel (32), league newcomer Elon (23), Towson (21), and College of Charleston (15) in the 10-team circuit.

“We’ve lost 12 players the last two years with over half garnering All-CAA honors, so I understand the preseason rank,” said University of Delaware head coach Scott Grzenda, the only coach in the history of the UD program. “We are going to be a very exciting team, returning three players who earned CAA honors and a very talented returning group. We may be young, but I know the team feels we will compete for the conference title. That is always a goal for our team.”

The Blue Hens went 9-7-3 last season - finishing sixth in the regular season - before losing to eventual CAA champion Northeastern on penalty kicks in the conference quarterfinals. Among the returning standouts are a pair of All-CAA selections in senior defender Allegra Gray and junior midfielder Emily Market, as well as sophomore forward Natalie Zelenky, who was a CAA All-Rookie team pick last fall.


1. Hofstra (3 first-place votes) - 74 points
2. James Madison (4 first-place votes) - 71
3. William & Mary (2 first-place votes) -  70
4. Northeastern (1 first-place vote) - 57
5. UNCW -  48
6. Delaware -  40
7. Drexel -  31
8. Elon -  23
9. Towson - 21
10. College of Charleston - 15