2016 Season Previews: Part Two

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Henlopen Conference

Caesar Rodney (6-10) - Caesar Rodney, despite dropping nine losses in the regular season found itself as the number 10 seed in the state tournament, thanks in large part to their very strong strength of schedule.  The Riders came close to earning their first tournament win since 2004, but fell short by only two goals to Wilmington Friends.  The Riders graduated six seniors, but their main advantage in the 2016 season is retaining the powerhouse scoring duo of seniors Delaney Steele (72G, 8A) and Kourtney Olsen (45G, 22A) - together, the two seniors scored a combined 117 out of the team's 184 goals.  Also returning for the Riders are seniors Jenna Rigby (27G, 10A) and Maegan Stewart (9G, 3A) in the midfield, sophomore Kacie Cava (12G, 1A) on attack, and senior Madeleine Card on defense.  Returning for one more season between the pipes is senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Longest. 

Caesar Rodney opens up their season at Charter on Tuesday, March 22nd.

Cape Henlopen (14-4) - Cape Henlopen extended their consecutive in-state winning streak to 84 games on May 26th last year when they defeated Polytech to earn their seventh straight state championship.  All four of Cape's losses have come from strong out of state opponents - Queen Anne's County (MD); Stephen Decatur (MD), who had an almost perfect season last year, having its undefeated record snapped in the Maryland MPSSAA 3A/2A state final game; Worcester Prep (MD); and Bishop Ireton (VA).  This year, Bishop Ireton is out and St. Mary's, a school that competes in the competitive IAMM in Maryland is in.

Six seniors graduated from last year's squad, including leading goal scorer and current Hofstra player Sarah Tappan (91G, 14A), Lexi Woodruff (41G, 30A), and Jordan Brown (32G, 15A) on attack, Temple player Taylor Gooch (2G, 2A) and Coryn Cannon on defense, as well four year starter and goalie, Sam Broadhurst.  2016's team is fairly young, carrying only four seniors (would be senior attacker Cam Wick is missing from this year's roster) - Temple commit Lizzie Frederick (38G, 36A), Tess Bernheimer (9G, 7A), Alison Palmer (2G), and Elizabeth Lockwood a transfer from Sussex Tech.  Cape also received sophomore Victoria Lockwood (scored 24G, 10A at ST) as a transfer this year, as well as Evelyn Shoop from Severn School in Maryland, a junior who is verbally committed to Florida.

Key returners on attack include junior Cailey Thornburg (20G, 8A), Korinne LeMaire (2G), and sophomore Katie Frederick (4G, 1A).  In the midfield, junior Katie Klabe (14G, 8A), as well as sophomore Annie Judge (3G, 2A) should return, and juniors Sarah Hyde and Sarah Rambo on defense.  Junior Iseabal Cryne is tasked with replacing the very talented Sam Broadhurst.

Cape still has plenty of experience, but might this be the year that the Viking's in-state unbeaten streak finally be broken?  An intact Polytech will get a stab at it at the Panther's turf on April 20th.

Dover (10-5) - Dover is coming off one of their best season's in school history, and lost only one senior in the offseason to graduation.  A solid nucleus of goal scorers returns in senior Ave Burleigh (25G, 5A), junior Mira Prisco (36G, 11A), and sophomores Grace Gast (25G, 4A) and Cydney Barnes (18G, 7A).  Stephanie Blakely is the new head coach.

Dover needs to improve its strength of schedule if they want to make it into the tournament - last season it was very weak, playing only five teams with a winning record.  Adding Charter to their schedule was a step in the right direction, but dropping Caravel doesn't do them any favors.    Dover opens up their season at home vs Cape Henlopen on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Indian River - One of four new varsity programs this year, Indian River moves up in the ranks after one year as a JV program, where the Indians went 8-0-1 in their inaugural season.  Leading the varsity program this year is first year head coach Kelsea Ayers, a 2015 Ohio State graduate where Ayers was a member of the div. 1 women's lacrosse team. 

The Indians will kick off their first varsity season at Polytech on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Polytech (15-2) - Lynn Richardson is another coach in Delaware that has done wonders for a program in a short amount of time. Polytech's girls lacrosse program only began six years ago, in 2010 - since then, Coach Richardson has brought her Panthers to the state tournament consistently for the past three seasons. First round jitters in 2013 and 2014 caused the Panthers to be upset by the lower seed, but finally in 2015 experience paid off as the Panthers finally earned their first tournament win, riding that wave all the way to the state finals. Pretty impressive for a team that is only entering its sixth varsity season. 

The Panthers graduated only four seniors from last year's state finalist team.  Returning this year as seniors are last year's Player of the Year, Ali McKay (104G, 19G - Bloomsburg, field hockey) along with Jamie Trabaudo (68G, 18A - UNC lacrosse) in the midfield, Kathryn Richardson (17G, 32A) on attack, and Kaitlin Bergold on defense.  Sophomores Madi McKay (46G, 14A) returns on attack and Shannon Stephan in goal.

Polytech's first game of the season is home against Indian River on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Smyrna (6-7-1) - Smyrna finished its second year of varsity lacrosse 6-7-1.  The Eagles were commanding against weaker Blue Hen teams, and held their own against tougher competition.  Key returnees include a quartet of senior scorers in Shabnam Norozzi (33G, 3A), Alison Sayers (22G, 10A), Allison Wheatley (21G, 5A), and Madeline Price (20G, 5A). 

Sussex Academy - Another one of the four new programs, Sussex Academy joins the ranks of varsity programs after a year as a JV program.  The Seahawks are carrying an astounding 27 girls on their varsity roster, all of whom are between 8th - 10th. 

Sussex Tech (8-7) - In 2014, Sussex Tech came within two spots of making the state tournament for the  fourth straight year.  2015 follows the same story - after improving their record to 8-7, the Ravens missed the tournament for a second straight year by .08th of a point. 

This year, Sussex Tech has to replace six seniors that supplied 115 of the teams 178 goals, as well as a few underclassmen that are missing from 2016's roster.  Junior Madison Bada (23G, 9A) is the lone remaining goal scorer, senior Jordan Ensley looks to be the goalie.

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