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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Delaware

We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Delaware Blue Hens, located in Newark, DE.

Delaware had a solid, but far from exceptional 2012 where they went 6-9. 2013 saw Delaware struggle early, and end the season with a 5-10 record. 3 wins in their last five games (and two one goal losses to top 20 teams before that) helped to salvage the season at some level. The team competed with 5 one goal games against good teams, so maybe things are looking up in DE.

Delaware’s schedule has changed a little bit, but not enough to make 2014 intrinsically harder or easier. They still have tough Colonial Conference games, and a good mix of OOC contests. 2014 comes down to the Blue Hen players, and how badly they want to win those tight games.

The good news here is that Delaware returns 8 of 10 starters for 2014, and they bring back a couple of other experienced guys as well. The base for success is there, and in my opinion, it starts in goal with Alex Herbert. The Junior is solid and with all those close games last year, Herbert was instrumental in keeping opponents below, or at least around, 10 goals. His defensive core returns as well and guys like Connelly and Worrall should shine.

At attack, Danny Keane should be a good leader. He’s got experience and skill and should thrive around the cage. With the graduation of Nick Diachenko and Dom Sebastiani (O mid) there are some open spots on offense, and right now Delaware only has 5 guys listed as attackmen, and three of them are freshman. Should we expect two rookies to join Keane? Maybe not. Last year Keane was listed as a midfielder, and this year Delaware has 28 midfielders on their roster. You read that right. 28. Maybe one of those guys will play attack?

The midfield has some youth to it for sure, but there is some experience there as well. Guys like Beau Jones, Connor McRoy, Brian Kormondy, and Tyler Barbarich could all see an increase in production, and this group provides the team a ton of depth and diversity.

I’m interested to see if this midfield-heavy approach leads to something a little bit different from Delaware in 2014. Are they going for run and gun? Will they just sprint at 100% all game? Or will some of these guys just become de facto attackmen? I’m curious to see what happens.

In the end, Delaware has some solid returning talent, and I always like a team that returns its core of players after losing a number of tight games. It can be a great motivator, and I think the players will want to give coach Bob Shillinglaw a good season. The man has won over 300 D1 games as a coach. He deserves another great season.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisiusColgate,  Cornell, and Dartmouth.