Delaware Picked to Repeat as CAA Champions; Kaleikau Earns Pre-Season All-CAA Honors
February 7, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Chris Permar
RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Delaware, coming off back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, is the pre-season favorite to capture the crown again this spring.
The No. 19 ranked Blue Hens, who opened the regular season Saturday with a 19-6 win over Detroit to give head coach Bob Shillinglaw his 300th career victory, earned three first place votes and 31 points overall in the CAA Pre-Season Coaches Poll announced Tuesday by the league coaches.
Delaware posted a record of 11-7 a year ago when the Blue Hens earned the No. 4 seed for the CAA Tournament and stormed past top-seed Hofstra and No. 2 seed Massachusetts in two road games to capture the title. Delaware then moved on to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and for the fourth time in the last seven seasons before falling to Duke 15-14 in the opening round.
The Blue Hens earned three of the seven first place votes and 31 total points in the poll, edging pre-season No. 2 pick Massachusetts, which garnered two first place votes and 30 points. Hofstra was a point behind at No. 3 with one first place vote and 29 points while Penn State was picked fourth with one first place vote and 23 points.
Drexel earned the No. 5 spot with 17 points and was followed by Towson (11) and Saint Joseph’s (6).
Senior Grant Kaleikau, a second team All-CAA selection a year ago and one of then nation’s top returning attackman, was one of 12 players selected to the pre-season All-CAA team.
The Germantown, Md. native tied for the team lead last season with 45 points on 15 goals and 30 assists. He collected four goals and four assists in the season-opening win over Detroit Saturday and went over the 100-point mark for his career.
The pre-season All-CAA attack unit also included Will Manny of Massachusetts and Matthew Mackrides of Penn State. The midfield unit included Kyle Bergman of Drexel, Anthony Biscardi of Massachusetts, and Ian Braddish of Hofstra, while the defense was led by Tom Celentani of Massachusetts, Ryan McGarvey of Penn State, and Cody Solaja of Hofstra.
Also honored on the pre-season All-CAA team were longstick midfielder Frank Tufano of Drexel, faceoff specialist John Antoniades of Hofstra, and goalkeeper Austin Kaut of Penn State. Kaut and Manny were named the pre-season CAA Players of the Year.
Delaware will continue action this Saturday when the Blue Hens travel to No. 12 ranked Bucknell for a 1 p.m. faceoff.