ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
A last-minute recruit, freshman attacker Mia DeRuggiero is already making an impact for the Blue Hens.
In her last five games, DeRuggiero has registered eight points on six goals, after being held scoreless in limited action through the first three games of her career. She scored two of those goals and added an assist in her first career start March 12 –– a 15-7 loss to 14th-ranked Virginia Tech. The next day she was named CAA Rookie of the Week.
“I found out on Twitter,” DeRuggiero said. “I just wasn’t really expecting it. I didn’t really think that what I did was that impactful, but I guess it was.”
At Sparrows Point High School in Baltimore, Md., DeRuggiero scored 211 goals in her four year career. In the offseason, she excelled in both soccer and basketball. Her Sparrows Point soccer teams won the Class 1A state title three consecutive seasons. They’ve since won a fourth straight title. DeRuggiero enjoyed the differing aspects of each game.
“It was kind of a relief to have three different sports to play, so that way I didn’t burn out with one, I would keep going from the next to the next to the next,” DeRuggiero said. “It was actually fun for me. I just enjoy being athletic in different areas. Soccer is completely different from basketball, using your feet to using your hands, so I guess I just liked being active.”
During her freshman year of high school DeRuggiero fractured her wrist playing soccer. The injury spelled the end to her club soccer career and thus pointed her toward lacrosse, where she would play for the prestigious Skywalkers lacrosse club to develop recruiting interest up until college. The injury, which carried into the spring lacrosse season, did not keep DeRuggiero off the field. The righty wore a hard cast and played with her left hand.
When it came time to make a college decision during her sophomore year of high school, DeRuggiero was settled on becoming a James Madison Duke. However, a last-minute visit to Delaware’s campus altered those plans.
“I was actually convinced that I was going to go to James Madison,” DeRuggiero said. “I had a visit at Delaware and something got messed up with the scheduling and everything and I wasn’t going to even come but then I did and I was like ‘oh thank God I did’ because I almost went to James Madison but this is definitely a better fit for me. Working with the older girls and seeing how nice they were and how friendly they were, that really made me want to come here because that was something I didn’t see at other schools.”
At Delaware, DeRuggiero began the season in an unfamiliar spot –– on the bench. However, injuries quickly opened an opportunity for the freshman to contribute.
“In high school, it was really small. I didn’t really sit the bench ever,” DeRuggiero said. “It was definitely different, but I knew it’s typical for a freshman to do that. I think that just every opportunity I got, I tried really hard. Some games I would just get in for the draw and then once the draw was done [Head Coach Kateri Linville] would pull me right back out. Every time I went in I tried to make an impact and the more I went in and the more things I did well, it made me want to keep going.”
Last season, Delaware did not make the CAA tournament after making semifinal appearances in each of the two years prior. The Hens’ are 3-3 in out-of-conference play so far this season. The team’s goal, according to DeRuggiero, is to win the CAA for the first time in program history and advance to the NCAA tournament.
“I tried not to come in with any expectations so I couldn’t let myself down, I hope to just keep going and progressing and keep this level,” DeRuggiero said, when asked about her personal goals. “I never expected to be Rookie of the Week or win any type of awards this early or this soon, so just keep going and do my best.”