Hens 2022

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Hens 2022

Post by LILax » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:45 pm

I never got around to writing a post-mortem for the Hens 2021 season. Maybe I didn’t want to recognize how ugly and abruptly it ended? Why didn’t the Hens pole McIntosh after his first three goals?!!!! Everybody knew that knee brace he wore was fake. :D

On a very positive note, Coach DeLuca has led the Hens to a 31-18 record over the first 3.5 years coaching at UD and has made the CAA tourney in each year. There are several seniors who contributed to DeLuca’s early success, even though they were recruited by legendary coach Bob Shillinglaw. Charlie Kitchen, Jake Hervada, Peter St. Geme, Joe Lenskold, Evan Gavalakis, AJ Hoffman and Ryan Shaw all played hard for the new regime and really became a big part of the new culture. They will certainly be missed. The Hens will also miss Hobart transfer Justin Scott who did a really nice job playing two-way middie for the squad this year. And it appears that 2021 was Noah Fossner’s last year coaching the Hen’s defense. They have promoted volunteer assistant Trey Wilkes to the second assistant coach position and Fossner is no longer on the staff. We should expect an announcement on the new volunteer coach in the coming weeks.

From what I have heard through social media posts, 5th year guys Matt Kilkeary and Mark Beida will return in the fall. The Hens will be losing 9 players to graduation while bringing in 13 new recruits. The 2022 roster will consist of a manageable 52 players, not accounting for future defections or transfers (I would not expect any of the latter unless it’s a FOGO).

Where do we go now?
The Hens have two pretty big holes to fill. How do you replace the 3rd highest scorer in Hens history (Charlie Kitchen 239 career points) and their best FOGO since Tyler Barbarich (Jake Hervada who finished his career at the .500 mark)? At attack DeLuca could turn to Mark Beida who seems very comfortable at X. Beida, who scored 17 goals and had 10 assists at midfield last season, is not nearly as physical as Kitchen. However, he is a really great distributor of the ball and a terrific one on one player. With Tye Kurtz and Mike Robinson on the wings, Beida could put up insane assists numbers next year. Not sure how his body would hold up against the beatings at X for a full season though. The Hens may opt to keep Bieda at midfield and turn that attack spot over to JP Ward who at 6’ 2” 190 is a more physical presence behind the cage.

The Hens will turn to Logan Premtaj at the faceoff X. He did an excellent job spotting Hervada from time to time and finished the year winning just under 60% of his draws. The Hens also have a big faceoff middie (Not necessarily a FOGO) coming in from the Hun School. Corbin Minard is a big athletic middie who was among the top FOGOs in NJ over the past two years facing plus competition at the Hun School and Delbarton where he began his high school career.

The defense was a strength of the Hens last year. Reed Kurtz, Kevin McCormick and All-American Owen Grant made up a young and formidable unit that had occasional break downs on overly aggressive (early) slides during the first half of the year when Kurtz was learning the position. They also have two stud LSMs in Tate Wasson and CAA All-Freshman team member Joe Speers. The SSDM units will be depleted by one member with the departure of Peter St. Geme, But the good news is that Aiden Fritz, Jason Seiter, Harrison Ewing and John Scheivert are all back. There really is no weakness on the defensive side of the field should Matt Kilkeary indeed return for a fifth year. If not, freshman Paul Reidy, a 4 star recruit out of Charlotte Catholic, could fill in. He is a tall and mobile goalie that will remind Hen fans of Matt DeLuca.

The Hens midfield will once again have the most question marks. Aside from the Acchione twins and Mark Beida there are a ton of unknowns. If Beida plays midfield, the Hens will have one pretty solid starting unit. If they move him to attack, they might turn to Nick Jessen or Kyle Kivinski to fill that spot. Nick Jessen showed a ton of explosiveness and was able to get free for shots seemingly at will. However, his shots were not terribly accurate shooting at about 14% for the season. The Hens really have no stretch shooters at midfield either other than Rutgers transfer Demetrius Stevenson, who really never got into a groove this year. Kivinski has shown brilliance from outside at times but is often reluctant to pull the trigger. Vermont transfer, Drew Lenkaitis, the lefty converted attackman, looked tentative at middie for much of the year. After those guys, DeLuca would probably consider Clay Miller, George Ward and Jake DeMare who are all coming off subpar years after each having such promising 2020 seasons.

The Defense Will Not Rest

Tough to say for sure who will make an impact this coming year because there don’t seem to be a lot of open positions to break through as a starter. The top recruit in this class is stud close defenseman, Aidan McCaffrey from Comsewogue, NY. McCaffrey was listed as the # 2 class of 2021 defenseman on Long Island and a top 100 recruits overall by Inside Lacrosse. It will be nearly impossible to keep McCaffrey on the bench, so I am sure DeLuca will find a way to leverage his enormous skillsets in some manner in 2022.

The Hens were also able to snag another Long Island gem on defense. Nick Cowen is the #11 ranked defenseman on Long Island who starred on the defense-first Carey HS squad alongside Hopkins recruit Jojo Todaro. Cowen has been described as a tank with amazing speed and agility. He is another guy that DeLuca might have to find time for this coming season.

The Hens are also bringing in Gino Pisano, a physical pole from Hereford HS in North Baltimore. I can’t remember the last Hen recruit who played at Hereford, but I can think of three incredible Towson Tigers who did (legendary SSDM Jack Adams, Stretch shooter, final-four attackman Joe Seider and close defenseman Joe Patti). So, if Pisano is half as good as those guys, the Hens got a steal out of Hereford. Defense will once again be ultra-competitive and crowded.

Reidy for Primetime?
As mentioned earlier, Paul Reidy is a four-star goalie with seemingly unlimited potential. The Hens really didn’t have an answer behind Kilkeary this year and were lucky that he played so consistently well from start to finish with no injuries. Reidy is an insurance policy for the Hens and looks to be the goalie of the future.

Urbana Sprawl
The Hens have once again turned to Urbana HS in western Maryland for recruiting (High School of Asst Coach Trey Wilkes). Hens are getting Urbana twins Jason and Jack Jozwiak along with half of a twin combo Jason Kolar (whose twin brother Eric is heading to Maryland to play SSDM for Tillman). All three of these guys put up insane numbers over the last four years in a historically weak conference. Potential is definitely there though from all the videos I have seen.

Highland Park Heist
The Hens were able to steal late recruit Brooks Bond out of Dallas superpower Highland Park HS. Bond is a super-quick middie with two strong hands who scored 16 goals during the 2020 Covid-shortened season in just 5 games. Bond was the senior captain on this year’s team that lost in the State Championship game to Dallas Jesuit. Bond was a star halfback on the Highland Park football team as well. Looks like an athletic player that DeLuca will try to get on the field quickly. His teammate Thomas Mencke is heading to Virginia as the #26 overall recruit this year.

Hens Fishing in Illinois Again

Nicholas Fish out of Grayslake HS in Illinois could represent the second straight year the Hens plucked a stealth recruit out of the west side of Lake Michigan (Joe Speers with 14 CT and 39GBs as a frosh this past season). Fish, the son of a Rutgers lacrosse alum and brother of former UVA player AJ Fish, looks great on film, and scored 89 goals and 76 assists in his first two years on the varsity squad as a frosh and sophomore. He is a four-sport athlete with nice size for the northern Illinois High School. Fish started on the golf, football (QB), basketball teams, and captained the lacrosse team.

MIA in the MIAA
Hens received a commitment from Riar Schell out of Boys Latin a couple years back. He has been an under-the-radar guy (and sometimes Missing in Action) in the MIAA. He missed a good portion of this season with injuries from what I read, but played great in the Championship game, scoring two goals in the victory over Archbishop Spaulding. Looked pretty good to me in that game. DeLuca has been quick to get these MIAA guys into the lineup in the past (Harrision Ewing and Aiden Fritz from Calvert Hall and JP Ward, George Ward and Rich Dion from McDonogh all got an opportunity to play during their freshman years) Could be an immediate contributor at midfield.

There are two other players that are joining the Hens in the fall. Justin Sanelli from Methacton HS, a western suburb of Philly and the John Jay goalie Aidan Koff. I don’t know much about either of these guys. Maybe someone out there can fill us in at some point?

Overall a very good recruiting class. Be interesting to see how many of them will breakthrough in their rookie season. The Hens are returning a boatload of talent from the 10-3 team that went 7-1 in the CAA. But they gotta figure out a way to get past that first round in the CAA this upcoming season. Looking forward to the fall. Can’t wait.

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tenn hen
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Re: Hens 2022

Post by tenn hen » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:35 pm

thanks LiL- awesome dissertation. Your reference to perennial power Highland Park, which is huge in Texas football, is exciting news. I appreciate the time you took to fill us LAX fans in. BTW- The mens ncaa final was great. I wonder why UD doesn't attempt to go bigtime in the woman's game. we might field(pun) a FH type program.
Keep the faith kick butt go Hens

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Re: Hens 2022

Post by mpwerrell » Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:42 pm

Thanks LILax for a comprehensive review!

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Re: Hens 2022

Post by CapeHen » Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:29 pm

Thanks for the amazing review! Looking forward to next year and beyond. The future under Deluca is bright.

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Re: Hens 2022

Post by dchen » Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:08 pm

Is Noah headed to another school?

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Re: Hens 2022

Post by dchen » Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:47 pm

[quote=dchen post_id=387708 time=1623784104 user_id=461]
Is Noah headed to another school?

I always liked one of his comments on playing goalie. He said: “if I see the ball leave the shooter’s stick, I have a chance to make a save. If I only see the ball in mid flight, it’s usually too late.” ( not an exact quote but that was the gist ).

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Re: Hens 2022

Post by BlueHenBill » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:28 pm

dchen wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:08 pm
Is Noah headed to another school?
In March Noah's wife Allison left UD where she was in effect the new SID for a seemingly non-athletics position at Drexel. Don't know why Noah left UD or where he is headed.

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Big R
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Re: Hens 2022

Post by Big R » Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:51 pm

Echoing the others - thanks for the great review.

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