Delaware Ready to Open 2011 Athletics Season With Atlantic 10 Foe La Salle Sunday Afternoon
Aug. 18, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. – The 2011-12 athletic calendar is upon us, and the first official contest for the University of Delaware this year will be the Blue Hen women’s soccer home opener against local foe La Salle University this Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Delaware Mini-Stadium.
Now entering his 22nd year at the helm of the program, head coach Scott Grzenda will look to get the season off on the right foot.
“The team and the coaches are very excited to get the season underway,” said Grzenda, who is just six wins short of the 200-victory benchmark. “We’ve had a great pre-season and are very anxious to get on our new field.”
The Blue Hens, who went 8-10-1 overall a year ago, will begin playing on a brand new surface at Delaware Mini-Stadium this season. During the summer, Bermuda grass was laid down in place of the previous Rye-Fuscue mix that served as the playing surface.
On the roster are five seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores. and seven freshmen. Delaware will need to mix experience and youth this season after losing just two players, Ilyssa Friedman and Morgan Warrington, to graduation.
The seniors on the squad include goalkeeper Breanna Stemler and field players Stacie Dulkis, Amy Pickard (at right), Laura Klebe and Leigh Victory. Bringing a wealth of experience to the mixture, the five seniors have combined to play in 206 career games, including 146 starts.
Twelve previous matchups with the Explorers have resulted in a deadlocked series at 6-6. The games have favored the road team, with Delaware holding a 4-2 record at La Salle, while the Explorers are 4-2 in Newark. Last season, La Salle narrowly edged the Hens in the opening day of the Blue Hen Classic, but needed overtime to pull out a 2-1 victory.
Over the course of the 2011 season, Delaware will face several teams that reached the NCAA playoffs last November and December, including defending Colonial Athletic Association champion James Madison, which won the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
After Sunday’s game, the Hens will be on the road for four straight games, facing opponents from four different conferences. On Aug. 26 and 28, the Hens will face America East’s Stony Brook and the Big East’s Pittsburgh, respectively, at the James Madison Tournament in Harrisonburg, Va. Following the tournament, the Hens challenge the Atlantic 10’s Saint Joseph’s and then face the University of Pennsylvania out of the Ivy League.