Roundup: St. Thomas More boys open with victory

The St. Thomas More boys’ basketball team opened its season with an 87-39 victory over Brandywine High at home on Thursday night.

Senior Eric Montanez was the Ravens’ leading scorer with 23 points. Senior Corey Gordon added 18 points.

Junior Gregory Bloodsworth chipped in 15 points and senior Elias Revelle was also in double figures with 13.

The Ravens made the quarterfinals of the state tournament last season. They play their next six games on the road.

Smyrna 50, William Penn 46: Caleb Matthews netted 15 points to pace the Eagles to a nonconference win on Thursday.

The Eagles improved to 3-0 on the young season. They raced out to a 21-12 lead after the first quarter and were able to hang on.

College baseball

Hens sign five, including local product: University of Delaware baseball head coach Jim Sherman has announced that three state high school standouts and two players at Mercer County Community College have signed National Letters of Intent with UD and will join the Blue Hens next fall.

Joey Haass, a right-handed pitcher at Polytech High School in Woodside, was an All-Conference selection and team captain last year for the Panthers. A two-year Carpenter Cup selection, Haass posted a 5-2 record with a 4.50 ERA, 43 strikeouts and two saves last season for Polytech before compiling a 4-0 record with a 2.19 ERA during the summer and fall travel ball season. Haass, who also plays basketball at Polytech, has been named to the honor roll during his first three years of high school.

“Joey is one of three Delaware high school recruits in this class,” Sherman noted. “We’re excited to have him because he’s a quality pitcher that really knows how to compete. He shows very good command of several pitches, along with tremendous poise on the mound for a young pitcher. We expect that Joey will certainly push others on our pitching staff right away, and he will be a very important member of our pitching staff for the next four years.”

Zach Miller is a four-year varsity starter at Salesianum in Wilmington, where he has earned honorable mention All-State accolades as a catcher during each of the last two seasons. Miller has represented Delaware North in the Carpenter Cup for three straight years, and batted .418 last season for the Sallies. An outstanding student, Miller is a member of the Salesianum Honors Society and has completed many service hours during his high school career.

Billy Sullivan is a right-handed pitcher at nearby St. Mark’s High, where he was a second team All-Conference selection last spring and was the winning pitcher in the Spartans’ state championship game victory over Caravel. He was the 2015 State MVP for American Legion state champion Stahl Post 30, and was selected to the 2017 Under Armour Preseason All-American Tournament in Mesa, Ariz. Sullivan also plays football and basketball at St. Mark’s, and earned All-Conference honors in both sports.

Anthony Peroni and Vinny Vaccone will join the Blue Hens from Mercer County (N.J.) Community College, which is currently ranked second in the nation and finished third in last year’s Junior College World Series.

Peroni batted .400 with 10 doubles, two triples, five homers and a team-leading .488 on base percentage a year ago, and will serve as team captain this spring.

Peroni, who was awarded an academic achievement scholarship at MCCC this year, graduated from Steinert High School in Hamilton Township, N.J. in 2015 after earning All-State and All-CVC honors as a senior.

“Anthony will provide us with significant catching experience, coming from Mercer County Community College along with Vinny Vaccone,” Sherman explained. “He has a high baseball IQ, and along with Zack (Miller), will provide us with some very good talent in our catching corps. Anthony also is a very powerful offensive player, which will give us an added power threat in the middle of our lineup.”

Vaccone batted .351 with eight homers, 50 runs scored, 51 RBI and 19 stolen bases as a shortstop for MCCC a year ago, when he earned first team all-region and All-GSAC honors. A 2015 graduate of Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia, Vaccone was a first team All-Catholic League, first team all-city and third team All-State selection.

College football

UD’s Bell earns ECAC honor: University of Delaware junior linebacker Charles Bell, who led the Blue Hens in tackles for the second straight season this past fall, has been named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-East team, the ECAC announced Thursday.

Bell, a business management major from Conestoga, Pa., was one of three linebackers selected to the first team from among the top players in the Colonial Athletic Association, Ivy League, Northeast Conference, and Patriot League. The teams were selected by ECAC-member coaches and sports information directors.

A two-time All-CAA selection, including earning first team accolades this fall, the co-captain led Delaware in tackles for the second straight year as he recorded 94 stops (38 solo) to go with a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss. He also had a quarterback sack, intercepted a pass, had two pass breakups, recovered one fumble, and forced another. He recorded 10 or stops four times and had a career-high 13 tackles each vs. Maine, Towson, and Villanova. He also had 11 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and intercepted a pass vs. Stony Brook.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Charles,” said Delaware interim head coach Dennis Dottin-Carter. “He is a big, physical player who consistently gave us a great effort throughout the season. He is an intelligent guy who works as hard as anyone on this team, whether it be on the field, in the weight room, or in the film room, and the younger guys look up to him. He is the kind of player you want to have on your team.”

Bell currently ranks No. 4 in the CAA in both tackles and tackles per game and led a defense that ranks No. 5 in the CAA in total defense, allowing 349.7 yards per game. Bell is the first UD player to earn All-East honors since current NFL Atlanta Falcon linebacker Paul Worrilow in 2012.

College field hockey

Blue Hen coach wins award: The post-season accolades just keep on coming for the University of Delaware field hockey program.

One day after Greta Nauck and Esmée Peet were honored as All-Americans, Blue Hen head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof and his staff was recognized as the 2016 Front Rush/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Collegiate Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.

Van de Kerkhof, who is assisted by Missy Arenz, Jordan McKee, and Jacki Coveleski, earlier this year was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year and the ECAC Eastern Coach of the Year. He earns the NFCHA regional award for the second time in four years after also being honored following the 2013 campaign when Delaware won the CAA title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a 17-5 record.

This year’s staff led the Blue Hens to the first National Championship in program history while UD finished the year with a 19-game winning streak and an overall mark of 23-2.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the NFHCA and would like to thank my coaching peers, my University of Delaware field hockey student-athletes, and my coaching and support staff,” said van de Kerkhof, who has now led Delaware to four straight CAA and NCAA Tournament appearances. “I have been privileged to work with a great players group this year as they went out of their way to prepare and compete. They not only achieved their goals of winning CAA’s and punching a ticket to the Final Four, but they won the National Championship. I am fortunate to have been part of their success. They made me look like a good coach.”

Other regional coach of the year award winners were Penn State’s Char Morett-Curtiss (Mideast), Harvard’s Tjerk van Herwaarden (Northeast), Duke’s Pam Bustin (South), and Louisville’s Justine Sowry (West). One of the five regional winners will be named national Coach of the Year later this month.

In his sixth season at the helm of the Blue Hens, van de Kerkhof has guided Delaware to four straight CAA titles and an overall mark of 86-45 (.656).  His squad finished the year ranked in the top four nationally in winning percentage, scoring average, goals per game, points per game, scoring margin and assists per game. Van de Kerkhof was the first-ever male to serve as the head coach of a NCAA Field Hockey Championship game at the Division I, II or III level.

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