April 8, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia field hockey head coach Michele Madison announced that Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Becca Zamojcin (Phoenxville, Pa.), Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.), Liz Stern-Green (Hummelstown, Pa.), Rachael Ulsh (Centerville, Va.), Emilie van Zinnicq Bergmann (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) and Nadine de Koning (Laren, The Netherlands) intend to join the Cavaliers for the 2014 season.
"This class is loaded with talent and I am very excited to finally announce the 2014 incoming class," Madison said. "The class as a whole is diversified and individually bring speed and versatility. Their skill specializations will enhance the current team strengths. With the graduation of our talented senior class, we added much needed depth to every line. The new class hails from strong hockey families, which should make for interesting dinner table conversation and a great parents' game on family weekend. I can't wait to get them all together on the field in August."
Forward Tara Vittese is the youngest sister of a pair of Virginia alumnae - three-time All-American and US Olympian Michele Vittese ('13) and All-ACC and All-Region honoree Carissa Vittese ('14). Vittese comes to UVa with international playing experience as a member of the USA U-21 Junior National Team that competed at the 2013 Junior World Cup, the top international event for elite field hockey athletes under the age of 21, in Monchengladbach, Germany, last summer (where she played against current Cavalier Lucy Hyams). As the youngest member of the team, she led the Americans in scoring. She has also been a member of the U-17 National team (2011), the U-19 National team (2013) and had a previous stint on the U-21 team in 2012, traveling to Manchester, England, for a friendly versus England U-21 teams. She is a two-time high school All-American, three-time all-state and a four-time first-team all-conference honoree, finishing her prep career with 166 goals, a Camden Catholic record as well as No. 6 all time in the nation for high school career goal scoring.
"Tara Vittese is the number one recruit in the country and she chose Virginia," Madison said. "She was the most-highly sought-after student-athlete of 2014 because of her dominance at the international level already at this young age. She is a seasoned player and will help us right away. Tara can score goals and likes even better to set up goal-scoring chances. She can play anywhere, but I can assure you we will keep her close to the goal. Her ball handling skills are amazing. She will draw the foul or she will eliminate and she knows when to do each one. She will thrive in the fast-paced, dynamic hockey style we play at UVa."
Becca Zamojcin is a defender at Archbishop John Carroll High in Radnor, Pa. where she was a two-time first-team All-Catholic and All-Delco honoree, helping to lead her Carroll squad to a district championship and a berth in the state playoffs all four years. Zamojcin has been a member of the USA U-19 Junior National Indoor Team and was selected to the travel squad that played on a tour in Scotland. She has also traveled to China with the WCEagles.
"Becca's one-on-one defensive skills are top notch and she can play the small game out of the back," Madison said. "She has an overhead and can hit the ball. Becca has primarily played as a left defender and has had a lot of success playing there for the Championship WC Eagles U19 team."
Carrera Lucas attends St. Paul's School for Girls in Brooklandville, Md., playing goal for both the SPSG field hockey and lacrosse teams as well as earning three varsity letters in squash. In field hockey, Lucas averaged 14.8 saves per game (266 total saves), saving 82 percent of the shots she faced in her fourth varsity season. She was a three-time Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference All-Star, 2011 team MVP and the 2013 team captain while being named the Baltimore Ravens Athlete of the Week on Dec. 23, 2012. In lacrosse, she was a 2013 Towson Times Second-Team All-Star and is the 2014 team's captain.
"Carrera is a quick and agile goalkeeper standing tall in the goal at 5'10'," Madison said. "She has excelled at different sports, but committed to field hockey last year. The goalkeepers coming in at the ACC level have the biggest adjustment to make with the pace of the game, the power of the shots and how fast they come. With All-ACC goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone as well as Becca Holden both returning to the team next year, she will have time to make those adjustments. I am confident she will continue the tradition of great goalkeepers from the University of Virginia."
Liz Stern-Green is a forward who played two years at Hershey High, winning a District AAA championship her freshman year, before finishing her final two years at Mercerburg Academy in Mercerburg, Pa., where she was a two-time Academic All-Mid Atlantic Prep League honoree. Stern-Green also played two seasons of lacrosse, being named the team MVP last season. In the classroom, the Distinguished Scholar was selected to attend a biology study program in Costa Rica last summer and plans to pursue a degree in environmental biology at UVa.
"Liz is an aggressive, tenacious, persistent player who can play in the front line or the midfield," Madison said. "I love her style. She runs down everything and plays with an urgency that wears down opponents. UVa is such great fit for gifted student athletes like Liz. I know she will have a fantastic time taking advantage on and off the field of everything the University has to offer."
Defender Rachael Ulsh helped Westfield High in Centreville, Va., win its first-ever Virginia state title and earn its first-ever No. 1 ranking by the Washington Post. Ulsh was the 2013 Virginia 6A North Region Player of the Year as well as being named 2013 First-Team All-Met and 2013 Concorde District/Conference Player of the Year. Ulsh is a three-time first team all-state, All-North Region and All-Concorde District honoree (2011, 2012, 2013) as well as a two-time Second Team All-Met (2011, 2012) selection. Her WHS squad went 80-10 in her four varsity seasons and recorded 41 shutouts with her playing on the back line. She also played four seasons of lacrosse, earning Academic All-America honors last season.
"Rachel has a great field presence," Madison said. "She is 100 percent engaged and plays hungry and confident. You can't help but notice her on any field," Madison said. "She's an athletic, strong and explosive defender. The sky is the limit for her growth."
Nadine de Koning is a defender who has played both indoor and outdoor field hockey with club teams in The Netherlands in the National League, the highest national level, and has made it all the way to A1. De Koning's 2011-12 squad finished in second place in the top league and her indoor squad finished third in the national finals. In 2012-13, her Laren team was in the top-six in The Netherlands. She also has a referee's certificate in the B-category (age 14-15) and has served as a referee for other youth teams.
"Nadine's versatility and ability to organize the play will help us in the backfield but she could also see time in the midfield," Madison said. "She is a very smart team player as she is experienced at the highest level for her age group in the Holland's club system. She attacks aggressively with a keen sense for tackling. Nadine also possesses an attacking component out of the back that will enhance a key component in UVa's dynamic style. She is Laren's stick stopper and a contributor in defense corner."
Emilie van Zinnicq Bergmann has had an extremely successful career playing club hockey in The Netherlands, moving up to senior level (18+) at the age of 15. In her first season playing in the top league for HV Victoria Rotterdam in 2012-13, she was the top goal scorer, helping her squad finish in first place in the top league and second place in the national tournament. Currently playing both field and indoor hockey for HC Leonidas Rotterdam, she is the top goal scorer in both leagues, with her indoor squad currently in second place. Van Zinnicq Bergmann, a two-time Dutch skiing champion in slalom, was also a decorated skier before choosing to just focus on hockey.
"Emilie hails from a strong hockey family and visiting family in the USA piqued her interest to study abroad," Madison said. "Adding to the versatility of the class, Emilie leads her teams in goals, but also serves double duty as a midfielder with her Leonidas club team. Emilie is a tough defender to get around, has a nose for the goal and brings an energetic game to the field. She inserts on penalty corners and is a force to reckon with on the post."
The Cavaliers lose eight seniors from the 2013 seventh-ranked squad that earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and finished the year with a 15-6 record.
"There is no filling the shoes of the 2014 graduating class, but these seven players will definitely bring some exciting hockey for years to come," Madison said.
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