Field Hockey offseason full of success

Field Hockey offseason full of success
STICKING TOGETHER — The AU field hockey team celebrates after capturing another Patriot League championship. AU has followed up a successful regular season with a strong offseason. They have seven recruits joining the team next year and had 17 athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad.

The AU women’s field hockey team has certainly had a successful offseason. They’ve recruited seven freshman for next year’s squad, earned the third highest GPA in the nation and had 17 players named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic Squad.

AU Athletics announced in early March that Jaclyn Anspach, Keelin Bannon, Jaclyn Beasley, Stephanie Burry, Gina Hofmann, Shelly Montgomery and Costanza Palma had all committed to play for AU field hockey. The class includes two USA Junior Olympians, two players who played on their respective country’s teams and two state champions. Head Coach Steve Jennings told AU Athletics that the team expects an immediate impact on the field.

“These student-athletes bring a wealth of accomplishments and accolades to our program and we look forward to their contributions over the next four years,” Jennings told AU Athletics. “Individually and collectively, they bring a winning mentality and a commitment to team chemistry.”

On top of the strong recruiting class, AU recorded a combined average GPA of 3.50 during the Fall 2009 semester. They were awarded the Gladiator SGI/NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Award. Only Old Dominion University, which had an average GPA of 3.52, and La Salle University, who had a GPA of 3.51, finished in front of the Eagles.

The team also had 17 student-athletes named to the 2009 Gladiator by SGI/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad, the most in the nation. Seniors Carly Boyce, Rachel Carney, Anne-Meike De Wiljes, Savannah Graybill and Emily Stovicek were named to the squad for the fourth time. The other athletes named to the squad are Melissa Casale, Kelsey Davis, Christine Fingerhuth, Evan Fowler, Kirstin Gebhart, Hannah Henninghausen, Lauren McHale, Sarah Millman, Alyssa Poorman, Shelby Storosh, Anne van Erp and Hannah Weitzman.

“Our coaching staff is extremely proud of the academic accomplishments of this team,” Associate Head Coach Sarah Thorn Krombolz told AU Athletics. “Their continued excellence in the classroom is truly admirable and we also recognize their ability to stand out both in the classroom and on the field hockey field.”

AU will play a slate of spring games to prepare them for the summer offseason. The team will lose six graduating seniors at the end of this year. They finished the 2009 regular season with a 12-9 record and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to the University of Maryland.

You can reach this staff writer at atomlinson@theeagleonline.com.

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