Our next 2017 Scouting Report is on 2016's 50th ranked RPI team, the University Of Delaware Blue Hens!
2016 season highlights.
Profile: From 2005-2011 Delaware had a nice run of success. The Blue Hens reached double digit win totals five times during that seven year stretch (9 wins in 2008), and peaked with a remarkable Final Four run in 2007. Indeed, even after their Final Four in 2007, Delaware won 10 & 11 games in 2010 & 2011, respectively, and it looked as if the Blue Hens were going to be a perennial contender in the CAA for years to come.
However, things have not gone as planned. UD has failed to reach .500 or better the last five seasons and has only won 5 games in three of the last five seasons. Delaware had a something going for a minute but has not been able to replicate the kind of success they had from 2005 through 2011.
2016 Record: 5-10 overall and 2-3 in the CAA. Delaware went 5-10 in 2015 as well but they had a slightly better conference record in 2016 after going 1-4 in conference two seasons ago.
Despite their record, Delaware deserves credit for turning their 2016 season around; after starting out 0-4, the Blue Hens went 5-6 the rest of the way and had a nice upset win over Towson. Indeed, if Delaware had beaten Drexel the week after beating Towson (Drexel won 6-5), UD could have made the CAA tournament last season.
Roster: Delaware lost 11 seniors from their 2016 team. Paul Major was UD’s biggest offensive loss from last season. Major led the Hens in points (32), goals (24), and was third on the team in assists (8). Defensively, Delaware will have to find replacements for Jared Horoski and Carson Scott. Horoski started every game last year for Delaware and Scott was right behind him with 11 starts.
One bright spot for Delaware is returning attackman Andrew Romagnoli. Romagnoli transferred from Marquette where he sat out as a freshman in 2015. Andrew had a great season for the Blue Hens and finished 2016 tied for first on the team in assists (10), and second on the team in points (31) & goals (21).
Romagnoli’s breakout first year earned him a spot on the CAA All-Rookie Team alongside fellow Blue Hen and LSM, Austin Haynes. Haynes played in 14 games in 2016 and was fantastic on ground balls, as he led the team with 42 GBs last season as a freshman. The Hens will lean on Romagnoli and Haynes heavily in 2017, especially with 16 freshmen on the roster this year.
Conference: The CAA is tough conference. While Towson gets a large portion of the publicity, teams like Fairfield & Hofstra are very formidable. Moreover, despite the fact that Delaware finished above UMass last season, the Minutemen had wins over North Carlina, Penn State, and Hartford last year, so even the bottom of the conference is a handful.
Delaware just missed the CAA tournament last year, but they’ll need to improve their play significantly if they really want to contend for a spot in the Big BBQ in 2017.
2017 Outlook: I don’t think Delaware is going to make a Final Four run in 2017 but I do believe they should improve next season. I liked how they finished the year last season and BOSS Shillinglaw’s freshman class has quite a bit of talent, including seven HS All-Americans. I think Delaware should be in the hunt for the 4th spot in the CAA.
Non-Sequitor: Vice President of the United States Joe Biden & his wife Dr. Jill Biden are both UD graduates, as is NJ Governor Chris Christie, and elite NFL quarterback Joe Flacco.