RICHMOND, Va.– After a heartbreaking loss last season in the CAA Tournament Quarterfinals, the University of Delaware women's soccer team has been picked to finish seventh overall in the Colonial Athletic Association this season, according to the league's head coaches.
Delaware, which reports for pre-season practice this week, will prepare for its season-opener on Friday, August 23 at St. John's. The Red Storm owns an overall 1-2 record over the Hens. The Hens will take part in pre-season scrimmages Aug. 13 at La Salle and Aug. 16 at George Washington.
Defending CAA champion Hofstra was chosen to repeat as league champs, receiving 61 points and six of the eight first place votes. William & Mary was selected to finish second with three first-place votes while last year's conference runner-up, UNCW, was picked to finish third.
James Madison, Drexel, and Northeastern round up the fourth through sixth rankings with CAA newcomer College of Charleston being selected to finish eighth and Towson picked to finish ninth.
Delaware head coach Scott Grzenda enters his 24th season as the leader of the Blue Hens. Grzenda welcomes back 14 letterwinners and four starters from the 2012 squad as Delaware looks to make its third consecutive CAA post-season appearance.
The Blue Hens return five key players who will complete their careers at Delaware this upcoming season. Seniors Chelsea Duffy, Chelsea Kearney, Dianna Marinaro, Jessica Levy, and Brittany Bonzano will continue to display leadership on and off the field this season.
Duffy, Kearney, and Marinaro started in all 18 games last year for Delaware. Duffy was selected to the All-CAA second team as a midfielder. Kearney registered three points last season while Marinaro scored one goal. Levy will continue her reign in net for Delaware after ranking fourth overall in CAA goalkeeping statistics. Bonzano returns as the lead of the Hens' defensive unit. Delaware also returns Emily Market, who was selected to the CAA All-Rookie team last season and junior Allegra Gray, who earned All-CAA first team accolades as a midfielder in 2012.
The CAA has had five different teams capture the league title over the past five years. The conference has placed multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament field in 15 of the past 20 seasons.
2013 CAA WOMEN'S SOCCER PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL
1. Hofstra (6 first-place votes) - 61 points
2. William and Mary (3 first-place votes) - 59
3. UNCW - 40
4. James Madison - 39
5. Drexel - 37
6. Northeastern - 36
7. Delaware - 29
8. College of Charleston - 12
9. Towson - 11