Oct. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Delaware Athletics

GLEN ALLEN, Va. – Following a pair of wins last weekend, the University of Delaware field hockey team has been ranked No. 17 in the nation in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll announced today.

It marks the first time the Blue Hens have earned a national ranking since October 2007. It also marks the highest position in the polls for the squad since earning the No. 14 spot on September 11, 2007.

Earlier this year, the team had been receiving votes before entering the top-20.

Last weekend, Delaware defeated No. 12 Old Dominion, 4-0, and William & Mary, 2-0, to extend its winning streak to nine games. That roll currently stands just two shy of tying the all-time program record set from October 22, 1985 – September 22, 1986.

The squad’s victory over Old Dominion was its first over a team ranked that high since a 2-1 win over No. 8 William & Mary in 2003. Coupled with Delaware’s victory over No. 14 James Madison last week, it also gave the squad its first back-to-back wins over ranked opponents since 2003.

Senior captain Casey Howard has been at the forefront of Delaware’s resurgence, tying for the league-lead with 14 goals. She also ranks third in the conference with 31 points. Missy Woodie is also tied for the league-lead with six assists, while Michelle Drummonds ranks first with five defensive saves.

Sophomore goalie Noelle Diana also leads the way with three shutouts. She also became the first Delaware netminder to blank consecutive opponents since Megan Allen accomplished the feat in 2004.

The Blue Hens are currently one of four teams from the Colonial Athletic Association in the national rankings. James Madison currently sits at No. 11, Drexel stands at No. 12, and Old Dominion is just one spot ahead of Delaware at No. 16. Northeastern, Hofstra, VCU, and Towson are also receiving votes.

Maryland currently holds the top spot in the poll, while North Carolina ranks second. Virginia, Wake Forest, and Princeton round out the top-five.

Delaware will return to action on Sunday when the team battles Northeastern in Boston at 1 p.m.