Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/1/09
The University of Delaware women’s team, which features two key returnees in junior Nicole Flego (Central Bucks East) and sophomore Julianna Jeffers (Springfield-Delco), was picked No. 4 in the Colonial Athletic Association Pre-Season Coaches Poll announced Wednesday by the league office.
Defending CAA champion Towson was the unanimous pre-season favorite as the Tigers earned seven of the eight first place votes. Coaches could not vote for their own team. William & Mary, last season’s CAA runner-up, earned the other first place vote and was picked second followed by James Madison, Delaware, Hofstra, George Mason, Drexel, and Old Dominion.
Delaware went 11-6 last season for head coach Kim Ciarrocca (Plymouth Whitemarsh, Temple University) and placed fourth in the CAA league standings with a 4-3 mark. The Hens advanced to the CAA Tournament semifinals for the third time in the last four seasons before falling to William & Mary.
The Hens lost just two starters from last year’s team and return 12 players who started eight or more games a year ago. Seven players who scored 10 or more points a year ago are back led by first team All-CAA attack Emily Schaknowski, who led the team with 56 points on 29 goals and 27 assists. Courtney Aburn (19 goals), Jeffers (21 goals), and Flego (15 goals) also lead the Blue Hen offense.
First team All-CAA goalkeeper Jessica Cerveny, who posted a .461 save percentage and allowed 10.88 goals per game, and second team All-CAA pick Ange Gaeta, lead the defense.
Towson returns eight starters from last year’s team that went 13-6 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are led by 2008 CAA Player of the Year Hilary Fratzke.
Drexel, picked for seventh, features sophomore midfielder Sam Berger, an All-Rookie pick last year.
The women’s lacrosse regular season begins on Feb. 14. The 2009 CAA women’s lacrosse Championship will be held April 30-May 2 at the site of the regular-season champion. William & Mary returns 10 starters from a team that went 10-9.
Delaware will open the season Feb. 25 when the Hens host Saint Joseph’s at 4:00 p.m. at Rullo Stadium.
2. William & Mary – 38 (1)
3. James Madison – 32
4. Delaware – 31
5. Hofstra – 30
6. George Mason – 24
7. Drexel – 11
8. Old Dominion – 9