National Runner-Up, Three ACC Teams Highlight the 2011 Delaware Field Hockey Schedule
June 10, 2011
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. - - First-year University of Delaware field hockey head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof will have little time to adjust to east coast field hockey this fall. Instead, he will find himself right in the thick of things from the start as he announced a challenging 2011 Blue Hen schedule on Friday.
Van de Kerkhof and the Blue Hens will square off against four teams that made the 16-team NCAA Tournament field in 2010, headlined by national runners-up North Carolina Tar Heels. Delaware will also take the field against 2010 NCAA participants Albany, Wake Forest, and Colonial Athletic Association foe Old Dominion.
“If you want to be the best, or want to become better, you have to play with the best,” said van de Kerkhof, who became the sixth head coach at Delaware in December after serving 12 years as an assistant and head coach at Michigan State. “I think our 2011 schedule is well balanced and will allow us to experience some of the best competition in the country. We call them character games. They should prepare us well to be competitive during Colonial Athletic Association play.”
The Blue Hens open the 2011 campaign with an unprecedented home stand at Rullo Stadium. Delaware will open the season on August 26 as the Hens welcome Bryant to Newark before hitting the road for a short trip to Rutgers on August 28. The Blue & Gold will return home for their next six games, and nine of their next 10 games, in a stretch that spans the month of September.
The home stand starts with Duke on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Blue Devils, a perennial NCAA participant, missed the NCAA Tournament last season but received votes in the final National Field Hockey Coaches Association Coaches Top 20 poll. As part of a four-team weekend of action, the Blue Hens will take on Villanova the following day at 11:30 a.m. with Duke taking on CAA opponent Drexel in a neutral site game at Rullo Stadium later in the day.
Delaware will then host the 2010 national runner-up Tar Heels of North Carolina on Sept. 9. North Carolina, which lost a 3-2 overtime championship match to Maryland a year ago, was ranked No. 2 in the final NFHCA poll last season and earned a first place vote.
The Blue Hens then get a short break from teams in last year’s NCAA Tournament as they will square off against Temple, Appalachian State and Monmouth in successive games to close out the six-game home stand. The three games will come in a six-day span, starting with the Owls on Sept.16. Appalachian State comes to town on Sept. 18 as the two programs face each other for the first time. The Hens will play Monmouth three days later on Sept. 21.
Delaware will take to the road with a short trip to Saint Joseph's on Sept. 24 before returning to Rullo for another home stand. Wake Forest, ranked 13th in the final 2010 NFHCA Coaches poll, will be the fifth game in 10 days for the Blue Hens, as the Demon Deacons come to Newark for the first time on Sept. 25.
Following Wake Forest, the CAA schedule gets under way with a pair of home matches against William & Mary and Old Dominion. Closing out a wild month for the Blue Hens, the Tribe comes to Rullo Stadium on Sept. 30, followed two days later by Old Dominion. The defending CAA champion Monarchs reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished 12th in the final NFHCA Coaches poll last fall.
After playing nine home games in a 10-game stretch, the longest road trip of the season will be ahead for the Blue Hens. The following weekend the Hens will head to Boston to take on Northeastern before heading to Hofstra on Oct. 9.
An off weekend in CAA action opens the opportunity to travel to Albany on Oct. 16 for the team’s final non-conference bout of the season. Albany claimed its second America East title and defeated Rider in an NCAA play-in game to reach the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The Great Danes' season ended with a No. 15 ranking in the NFHCA poll.
Delaware returns home the following weekend to face nearby rivals Drexel and Towson. The Drexel contest will be on Oct. 21 under the lights at Rullo Stadium. The Dragons missed the NCAA Tournament a year ago but finished 17th in the final NFHCA poll.
The 2011 regular season comes to a close on the road for the Blue Hens as they travel to James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth on Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, respectively.
The six-team CAA Championships will be held on November 3-6 at the home of the highest seed.
After finishing 2010 with an 8-10 overall record, the Blue Hens will look to get back to their 2009 CAA Championship form under the leadership of rising seniors Amanda McCardell (above right) and Noelle Diana (below left).
McCardell started all 18 games last season and scored three goals and assisted on two others. Diana was the team’s lone net-minder last season, making 109 saves while recording one shutout. Junior Melissa LeNoir is the leading goal scorer returning, finding the back of the cage seven times while adding one assist, in her first year with the Hens last fall.
2011 University of Delaware Field Hockey Schedule
Aug. 24 vs. Boston University (scrimmage), TBA; Aug. 26 vs. Bryant, 1 p.m.; Aug. 28 at Rutgers, 1 p.m.
Sept. 3 vs. Duke, 12 noon; Sept. 4 vs. Villanova, 2 p.m.; Sept. 9 vs. North Carolina, 4 p.m.; Sept. 16 vs. Temple, 7 p.m.; Sept. 18 vs. Appalachian State, 12 noon; Sept. 21 vs. Monmouth, 7 p.m.; Sept. 24 at Saint Joseph’s, 1 p.m.; Sept. 25 vs. Wake Forest, 1 p.m.; Sept. 30 vs. *William & Mary, 5 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. *Old Dominion, 1 p.m.; Oct. 7 at *Northeastern, 2 p.m.; Oct. 9 at *Hofstra, 12 noon; Oct. 16 at Albany, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 21 vs. *Drexel; Oct. 23 vs. *Towson, 12 noon; Oct. 28 at *James Madison, 7 p.m.; Oct. 30 at *Virginia Commonwealth, 12 noon
Nov. 3-6 at CAA Championships (at Highest Seed)