Delaware Opens 2011 Campaign at Home against Bryant Friday, Travels to Rutgers for Rescheduled Game Monday
August 25, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware field hockey team opens the 2011 season with a jam-packed weekend, squaring off against Bryant in the season opener Friday, Aug. 26, before traveling to Rutgers Monday to kick-start the new campaign.
The Blue Hens will host Bryant at Rullo Stadium on Friday, Aug. 26, starting at 1 p.m. in the before heading to Rutgers on Monday for a 4 p.m. start. The Rutgers contest has been moved from Sunday as a precaution due to the incoming storm, Hurricane Irene.
The Bryant game will mark the debut of Delaware first-year head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof, who begins his tenure with the Blue Hens after serving the last five seasons as head coach at Michigan State.
The Blue Hens have a new regime leading the program and van de Kerkhof would like to get the ball rolling in the right direction with a solid start this weekend. The Blue Hens finished 8-10 overall and out of the CAA playoff picture with a 2-6 conference record in 2010.
They look to get back to the tournament, now a six-team event, after winning their second CAA tournament championship in 2009. Delaware returns 10 letterwinners, including seven starters and the starting goalie.
This year, seniors Amanda McCardell and Noelle Diana as well as junior Melissa LeNoir and sophomore Clare O’Malley will lead the team on the turf.
LeNoir begins her second season as a Blue Hen after transferring from West Chester and is the leading goal scorer coming back. She tallied seven goals and added an assist last season, finishing second on the team.
McCardell will control the midfield this season and scored three goals and two assists last season as a junior.
O’Malley was the lone representative on the pre-season All-CAA team as she was named an honorable mention. She collected four assists and added a goal and was named to the CAA All-Rookie squad last season. A bulk of her assists came as the inserter on Delaware penalty corners.
Diana played all 1,294 minutes in goal last season as a junior. She made 109 saves, including two saves in the team’s lone shutout of the season against Pacific. She finished with a 3.48 goals against average, allowing 50 goals.
Scouting the Bryant Bulldogs:
Bryant field hockey made school history a season ago as it became the first program to qualify for a Division I post-season tournament in school history.
The Bulldogs finished third in the Northeast Conference with a program-best eight Division I victories in their first season of NCAA post-season eligibility. The Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the NEC this year according to the annual preseason coaches’ poll.
They return several stars from last year’s squad, led by senior Courtney Landi who leads the returning players with seven goals and one assist in 2010. She and classmate Katherine Andrusin were second team All-NEC members a season ago.
Senior netminder Jennifer Gullotti ranked 12th nationally in saves per game (7.20) last year and finished second in the conference with 144 total saves.
Bryant went 8-12 (5-2 NEC) in 2010 but won eight of their remaining 12 games to close out the season.
This will be the first meeting between the two squads.
Scouting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights:
Rutgers completed its 2010 campaign with an 8-12 mark en route to its first conference tournament appearance since 2003.The Scarlet Knights posted a 2-4 BIG EAST conference record, tying for fourth.
The Scarlet Knights return 10 starters from that playoff team along with 17 letterwinners. Included among the returnees is Nicole Gentile, the teams leading goal scorer and point-getter a year ago. Gentile scored 11 goals and added an assist for 23 points last season. She is one of seven seniors on the Rutgers team in 2011.
Overall, the Scarlet Knights return their top six point-scorers, including Gia Nappi (five goals, five assists) and Lisa Patrone (four goals and two assists). They also welcome back both of their starting goalies in Sarah Stuby and Vickie Lavell. The two combined to tally 89 saves and accumulated a 3.40 goals against average.
Rutgers was selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST pre-season coaches’ poll. Delaware leads the all-time series 18-8-3 over the Scarlet Knights, including a 1-1 tie in the first meeting in 1974.
Friday, August 26 vs. Bryant, 1 p.m.
Monday, August 29 at Rutgers, 4 p.m.