Delaware Men's Soccer Looking to Make History During Upcoming Season
August 25, 2011
NEWARK, Del. -- After a dramatic finish to the 2010 regular season and a run into the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, the University of Delaware men’s soccer team is ready to kick off its sixth season under Ian Hennessy.
The 2011 edition of the Blue Hens soccer team opens its season on Friday at 1 p.m. as the Minutemen of the University of Massachusetts visit Delaware Mini-Stadium.
Fans unable to make it to Blue Hen home games this season can follow the action with a live statistical feed.
“Pre-season is always an exciting time because you are happy to be back amongst teammates, old and new, who will share another year's journey with you in the short time you have playing college soccer,” said Hennessy of the upcoming squad. “The first question the players ask is ‘Who are we playing’, and they were thrilled this year to hear that we have Ivy League (Columbia) and Big East (Seton Hall) teams on the docket.”
Friday’s game will be just the second-ever meeting between the two state universities. UMass holds the 1-0-0 advantage, but that game occurred before most of the current players were born (1989). The Minutemen won that initial game 2-0 at the Challenge Cup Tournament, held at UMass.
This season marks the 85th year Delaware has been competing in intercollegiate soccer, dating back to the inaugural season in 1926. And in all that time, the 2010 season was one of the most successful years the program has had.
The main goal for the Hens in 2011 will be to reach the CAA Tournament for a second straight year, something that has never been done in the program’s history; no team has ever reached the conference tournament in back-to-back seasons.
Leading the offensive charge this season will be senior Evans Frimpong, who was named to the Pre-season All-CAA team. Frimpong is the top returning scorer from a year ago, tallying three goals with one assist for seven total points. Frimpong, who hails from Accra, Ghana, led the Hens with 57 shots, earning an All-CAA selection as a second teamer.
Kyle Ellis is the top midfielder back for the University. The native Delawarean was the leading assister last year, handing out five helpers while also tallying a goal. Ellis managed 19 shots, putting nine on goal.
Delaware also returns an All-CAA selection in the backfield with Darren O’Connor, who was a third teamer last season. O’Connor anchored a defense that shutout six opponents throughout the year, including the final three of the regular season to help UD qualify for the CAA tournament. The Cork, Ireland native also tallied a goal while starting in 15 games.
The real intersquad battle will be between the pipes. Last year, Kris Devaux and Brandon Paul (above at right) split time. Devaux got the nod early in the season, making seven starts and logging 663 minutes of play, while Paul rounded out the season, making eight starts and playing in 776 minutes. Each keeper posted three shutouts, while Paul made 45 saves to Devaux’s 28.
The Delaware non-conference schedule this season will help the Hens gear up for CAA action. Last season, the league sent two teams to the NCAA College Cup Tournament. Conference champion William & Mary, which defeated Delaware 1-0 in the CAA semifinals in double overtime, was joined in the NCAA tournament by Old Dominion University, who did not qualify for the CAA tournament.
Last season, the Blue Hens went 6-9-3 overall, but finished with a conference record of 5-4-2. Home field was a key advantage for Delaware last season, which went 5-0-0 in home conference games.
As the CAA tournament expands from four teams to six, the path to the postseason will not be easy for the Hens, but it will certainly be a wider road.Back To Men's Soccer Home Men's Soccer Story Archive