The Review Sports Roundtable: What to expect this spring
With the spring sports season fast approaching and Delaware’s basketball teams less than a month away from the postseason, The Review’s sports staff was asked to answer a series of questions to prepare Delaware fans for what’s to come.
Which season are you most looking forward to this spring?
Meagan McKinley: I want to say baseball because it’s my favorite spring sport, but I can’t wait to see how men’s lacrosse progresses after last year’s CAA playoff loss.
Tye Richmond: Men’s Lacrosse. I want to see how the teams improves from their tough one-goal loss to Towson in last year’s playoffs. Also, I want to see if anybody can step up for the team. Delaware is looking for its first winning record since the 2010-11 season.
Dan Rosenfield: Basketball, if that still counts as spring, because the team can be fourth in the CAA and thus earn a bye for the first round of the CAA tournament. After that, anything can happen.
David Russell: I’d have to say men’s lacrosse, partially because it’s my third favorite sport behind hockey and soccer. But more importantly, I feel this team has yet to fully realize its potential, and it has the chance to prove it this year.
Who or what is most important to Delaware having success in men’s basketball?
McKinley: Eric Carter and Ithiel Horton. If Carter can bring his scoring back up to the level he started the season with, he’s going to be one of the best in the CAA. Horton, as a freshman, could very well be the third straight Blue Hen to win CAA Rookie of the Year. As long as he stays consistent in beating the pace of both the winners before him, I don’t see why he couldn’t.
Richmond: The most important thing for the team to have success is their defense. In the recent three-game losing streak, the opponents each shot over 48 percent. So if they can play better team defense then they wouldn’t blow or surrender the leads they’ve had in the first half of games.
Rosenfield: Holding on to big leads. Too many times this season Delaware has surrendered huge leads they built from the first half. The team needs to take every opponent seriously and play like it’s their last. Never put your gas off the peddle and always play to win, not play to not lose.
Russell: The top players producing goes without saying, but what truly separates the contenders from the pretenders is the contributions of the depth players. Balanced scoring takes the pressure off the big guns and can help make up for a lack of star power.
How far can Delaware make it in the women’s basketball tournament?
McKinley: Women’s basketball has struggled without reigning CAA Player of the Year Nicole Enabosi. With the offensive going dry, hopes have leaned away from freshman Jasmine Dickey, even though she’s second in the conference in rebounds. Enabosi is a dominant player and perhaps that’s a learning opportunity without her, trying to balance out the gaps she’s left. If they don’t do that soon, they’re not going to get the surge they need to push through CAA’s.
Richmond: I don’t think the team will make it that far in the tournament. With the loss of Nicole Enabosi the team has been struggling and could have its first losing year since the 2014-15 season. It will be a tough challenge for Delaware going up against teams like JMU and Drexel, who they just lost to by 17.
Rosenfield: Without Nicole Enabosi, I don’t see this team making it very far. They struggled early on in the year but have bounced back a little bit. That being said, I don’t see them having enough offensive firepower to get through the top of the league like JMU and Drexel. Without Enabosi, everything will be a challenge.
Russell: It all depends on if they can harness that go-for-the-throat mentality that all champions possess. Many times in sports I’ve seen the touted favorites lose to an ostensibly lesser team simply because they lacked that extra gear. Some may scoff at intangibles such as this, but I’m of the mindset that it can take you farther than you otherwise might have without it.
Which spring sports athlete should Delaware fans look out for?
McKinley: Baseball’s Billy Sullivan IV. He turned down the Phillies after the 2017 draft to play for Delaware and will be eligible for the draft again after this season. With 14 starts as a freshman, Sullivan had a 2.97 ERA and 95 strikeouts; batters were .199 against him. It’ll be really interesting to see what he’s capable of with a season already under his belt.
Richmond: People should look out for baseball’s Kyle Baker. He led the CAA with a .354 average with 75 hits in 212 at-bats. He had 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs, along with a team-high 39 runs batted in. Last season, he earned All-CAA First Team accolades and this season the he earned Preseason All-CAA. So, if the Blue Hen want to go far this year Baker will need to play a big role.
Rosenfield: People should look out for Anna Steinmetz on the softball team. She was selected to the All-CAA first team for the second year in a row in 2018. Last season, she led the Blue Hens with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 38 RBI. She also had a .341 batting average.
Russell: I realize this is quite the sleeper pick, but I’m going with Bryce Reid of men’s lacrosse. He netted 20 goals last season, good for fifth on the team, and picked up four in Delaware’s 11-8 win at the mount. If his first outing of the year is any indication of things to come, we could see a breakout season.