DIAA Field Hockey D2 Championship Delmar vs Archmere 31

The Corner Scoop: Preseason field hockey rankings

Nick HallidayHeadlines, Sports

DIAA Field Hockey D2 Championship Delmar vs Archmere 31

DIAA Field Hockey D2 Championship Delmar vs Archmere, photo by Ben Fulton

Welcome to “The Corner Scoop”, a weekly edition covering high school field hockey in Delaware.  The high school season opens up on Wednesday Sept. 6, 2023 so we will rank the top 10 teams in Division 1 and Division 2, along with their matchups for the week. There is talent up and down the state in Division 1 and Division 2 that fans will need to keep an eye on. Will perennial powerhouses Delmar (D-2) and Cape Henlopen (D-1) be challenged by their Delaware rivals? Teams to watch in D-1 include Smyrna, Cape Henlopen, Wilmington Charter, and CR. Teams to watch in D-2 include Delmar, Archmere, Tatnall, Wilmington Friends, Newark Charter, and Sussex Academy, who all saw action in the quarterfinal round and beyond in the D-2 state tournament last season.


Defending state champions hold the top spot in each division for the pre-season rankings and we will see the Division 1 rematch between Cape Henlopen and Smyrna early in the season. 


Division 1 Field Hockey

No. 1 Smyrna The Eagles hoisted their first championship trophy in field hockey in 2022 and will look to hold the spot. They begin their season with a Varsity roster listing only 13 players and 3 road games: at D-2 Runner-Up Archmere Sept. 6 with a 3-0 win,  at Sussex Academy Sept. 12 and at Cape Henlopen Sept. 14. 


No. 2 Cape Henlopen The Vikings are coming off a championship tournament loss after winning 12 previous titles.  They will look to regroup after losing to Smyrna 2-1 in the finals. They roster 24 players, many returners with a lot of hockey experience, which will prove helpful as they face four heavy hitters on home turf right away.  Cape will see Queen Anne’s (MD) Sept. 8, Pocomoke (MD) Sept. 9, before seeing in state competition with Lake Forest Sept. 12 and the rematch with Smyrna at home on Sept. 14.


No. 3 Charter School of Wilmington  Posting an overall 14-3 record last season, losing to the eventual state champs, Smyrna in the semifinals, Charter will be a team to watch after graduating 8 seniors. The roster has 21 players and opens with St. George’s at home on Sept. 7, at Sussex Academy Sept. 9, at MOT Charter Sept. 12, and home versus Appoquinimink Sept. 13.


No. 4 Milford The Bucs ended last season  7-8-1, losing to Cape in the quarterfinal of the tournament, graduating 5 seniors on a roster of 26. They will return a lot of players with experience, rostering 27 and they are young. Their home opener is  Sept. 7 at home versus Lake Forest, Sept. 9 they travel to Appoquinimink and then onto Sussex Tech on Sept. 14.


No. 5 CR The Riders had an overall record of 10-6 last year, losing to Padua in the quarterfinals and graduating 12 off the 2022 roster of 25. Five seniors remain this season on the roster of 26 and they will need to lead the way with experience. CR will have to acclimate their young players to the competition level to stay competitive again this season.  They will be off to a little slower start than most with Appoquinimink on Sept. 9 and then Milford on Sept. 15.


No. 6 Padua The Pandas finished with an overall record of 9-8, losing to Cape Henlopen in the semifinals of the tournament. They graduated 8 seniors. Padua has to get some experience early on and make the climb back to the tournament. That experience will come immediately as they open with defending state champs Smyrna, on Friday Sept. 9, then play Ursuline on Sept. 13. 


No. 7 Appoquinimink  The Jags finished 9-7 last season, losing to Smyrna in the first round of the tournament last season making an early exit. They lost 7 seniors to graduation. This year’s roster shows a small squad of 18. They open with CR at home Sept. 7, Milford at home Sept. 9 and away at Caravel Sept. 11.


No. 8 Sussex Tech The Ravens went .500 last year at 8-8,  losing to Wilm. Charter in the opening round of the tournament. They only roster 2 seniors this season but show 11 juniors, many of whom saw action last season. The returners will need to bring leadership to keep Tech in the mix this year. Their season opens at home with Lake Forest on Sept. 8 and Route 9 rival school Cape Henlopen at home on Sept. 13.


No. 9 Middletown The Cavaliers ended 6-9 last season but posted a roster of 19, many of which are juniors who should provide some experience, depth, and leadership. They lead off with Mount Pleasant on Sept. 7, travel to Concord on Sept. 13 and host William Penn  Sept. 15.


No. 10 Polytech The Panthers also ended 6-9 last season. Their varsity roster consists of 15, all of whom are juniors or seniors. It will be interesting to see how they get started this season and if they can flip some of their 2-1 losses from a season ago. They open at home on Sept. 8 vs Laurel, Sept. 12 vs St. George’s Tech and go to Dover Sept. 14. 

Division 2 Field Hockey

No 1. Delmar No Delaware field hockey team has been better than the Delmar Wildcats. They have won 115 straight games and 7 consecutive state D-2 championships. Despite losing 5 players, who are all playing in college this fall, Delmar still sits atop the Division 2 rankings. Their season opener will be at Cape Henlopen against Pocomoke (MD) Sept. 8 and Queen Anne’s (MD) Sept. 9 before seeing in state competition vs. Wilmington Friends at DE Turf on Sept. 12.


No 2.  Archmere The Auks graduated 4 strong players and will look to rebuild this season. Anchoring their defense will be Goalie Ava Highes and they are hoping for another strong season. They opened the season with a tough test against D-1 State Champs Smyrna on Sept. 6 (L 3-0), then see action at home games vs Wilmington Friends Sept. 8 and Conrad on Sept. 12.


No 3. Tatnall The Hornets finished 15-2 last season, losing to Archemere in the semifinals. They graduated 8 seniors but have 16 returners to the program. They opened their season Sept. 6 with a 3-0 win over Padua and will see action against Wilmington Friends Sept. 14. 


No 4. Wilmington Friends The Quakers 14-4 last season losing to Delmar in the semifinals and they were young, rostering 15 underclassmen. They will look to build on that youth and experience to make a run into the tournament again this season. With a current roster of 31, there will be plenty of help from the sideline to rotate players in. The schedule is not friendly early on putting them on the road for the first three games against Archmere Sept. 8, Delmar Sept. 12 and Tatnall Sept. 14.


No 5. Delaware Military Academy The SeaHawks were respectable with a 10-4-1 finish last season, exiting the tournament in round 2. They lose 10 of 25 players to graduation so have some rebuilding to do. It looks as if they have accomplished that by adding 6 freshmen to the roster this season. Their season starts on Sept. 7 at Sanford and Sept. 14 at Newark Charter. 


No.6 Newark Charter The young Patriots squad lost 3 seniors from a 12-4-1 team a season ago. They return 11 juniors and 6 seniors on the roster of 19. They will need to build on that experience and leadership this season. The first three games of 2023 are at home against Padua Sept. 8, St. Mark’s’ Sept. 12 and DMA Sept. 14. 


No 7. Sussex Academy The Seahawks ended 2022 11-5-1, exiting the tournament with a loss to Archemere in the quarter finals. They have lost 4 seniors and are showing a roster of 23 with 2 seniors, 7 juniors, 6 sophomores, and 6 freshmen. They open their season with Wilmington Charter on 9/9,  Smyrna on 9/12, and travel to Laurel on Sept. 14.


No 8. Lake Forest The Spartans were 10-5-1. This year’s roster holds 17 players, all upperclassmen with 11 seniors. They open a tough schedule at Milford on Sept. 7, then onto Cape Henlopen  on Sept. 12. 


No 9. Saint Mark’s The Spartans had a good season in 2022 ending 9-6 with a first round loss to SAAS. They have 22 on the roster this year, and are loaded with juniors and seniors. They opened their season Sept. 6 against Ursuline with a 6-0 win, and will travel to St. Elizabeth’s Sept. 8 and Newark Charter on Sept.12.


No. 10 Concord The Raiders were 10-5-1 a year ago but are a smaller squad this season according to the roster. They opened on 9/6 with a 6-0 win over Dickinson and will face AI DuPont on Sept. 11. 


Shannon Timmons

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