CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia head field hockey coach Michele Madison announced the signing of six future student-athletes who will join the Cavaliers this fall.
Liza Blue (Butler, Md./Garrison Forest), Elizabeth Hanks (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey), Katie Robinson (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal), Lane Smith (Ottawa Hills, Ohio/Ottawa Hills), Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J./Camden Catholic) and Sarah Weber (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) have signed National Letters of Intent to be part of the UVa program in 2010-11.
"Industrious is the word that comes to mind for the 2014 class," Madison said. "Three United States Olympic Development players, a U-19 national team player and two players of the year highlight some accomplishments of this class on the field. This group has positioned themselves to achieve excellence on and off the field. We even have a class president."
Blue, a midfielder/back who will also compete in women's lacrosse at UVa, is a five-time Futures participant on the national level in addition to being a two-time Festival participant. She was twice named the Baltimore County Player of the Year and helped Garrison Forest to two conference championships.
"Attending the University of Virginia means everything to both Liza and her family," said her parents, Henry and Liz Blue. "Liza is a fifth generation family member to attend UVa and being part of Virginia's field hockey family will make her experience all the more special."
"Liza's hockey potential may be untapped but not her athletic ability," Madison said. "She will bring speed and quickness with a high work rate to both teams."
Hanks, a forward/midfielder, is a four-time Futures participant and a three-time gold medalist at the National Festival. She was an all-state selection as a senior in 2009 and twice led Hershey runner-up finishes in the state tournament.
"Elizabeth's promise is in her fortitude," Madison said. "She knows what she wants and works to get it. Those are great qualities for a goal scorer."
"We are thrilled that Elizabeth has chosen the University of Virginia," said Hanks' parents, Greg and Mary Sue Hanks. "She has always set high goals for herself in both athletics and academics. Virginia sets the bar high for both of these. We believe Virginia has the best coaches in the country and the greatest teammates she could hope for. She loves the Wahoo school spirit; her high school colors are even orange and blue, so Virginia is perfect in many ways!"
"Elizabeth has a presence on the field - she does not go unnoticed," said Kristi Harshman, Hanks' club coach. "Her strengths include, but are not limited to: strength, speed, athleticism, and ability to finish. She is so fun to watch in the open field and is a force to be reckoned with in the circle. 'E' is a fine young lady with an incredible work ethic and I am excited to see her continue to grow as a person and hockey player at the next level."
Robinson plays midfielder on the U-19 National Team and in the Olympic Development program. Robinson was an all-state selection as a junior in 2008 and has guided Donegal to the state semifinals as a senior.
"Coming from Donegal and being coached by a former Michigan Wolverine in Jess Rose, Katie's possession skills are solid," Madison said. "She is a playmaker by instinct and possesses great skill and vision for the next level. Her ability to distribute the ball should give her quality minutes in the midfield."
"We are very excited about Katie attending an academic institution with an excellent reputation," said Robinson's parents, Dave and Sheri Robinson. "We are also excited about Katie being involved with an outstanding hockey program. We look forward to cheering on the Cavaliers next year and becoming part of the UVa family."
Smith, a back, joins Robinson as a member of the 2009-10 Olympic Development squad. A two-time gold medalist with her Junior Olympic Team, Smith also was a member of the first Midwest Regional Team to medal at the National Futures Championships. Smith was an all-state selection as a senior and was a 2009 Midwest Regional All-American.
"Lane adds much needed depth to the backfield," Madison said. "She is a clever defender and could contribute early."
Said Smith's family: "we are so excited about Lane's opportunity to play for Virginia. She absolutely loves the campus and the girls on the team and is chomping at the bit to get down there. We had a wonderful visit and look forward to many more once the season starts."
Vittese, a forward/midfielder, is the younger sister of current UVa All-American Michelle Vittese. She is the third member of the class to be named to the Olympic Development team in addition to being a Futures Elite selection. As a senior in 2009, Vittese was a second-team All-South Jersey honoree.
"Carissa is the finesse player of the group," Madison said. "Her ability to not only eliminate and score goals but make the assist, puts her in position to challenge for playing time up front."
"Carissa's elite skill regularly set the tone for high school competition," said Vittese's high school coach, Maureen Casserly. "Her character and love for the game will be missed at Camden Catholic, but we will all be rooting from afar as her college career is ready to unveil. We look forward to hearing the impact she will make to the University of Virginia program."
Weber, a midfielder/back, is a Futures Elite selection and a two-time all-state selection. She was named the 2009 Burlington County Times Player of the Year and helped Moorestown to two conference championships.
"Sarah is such a team player that she stayed under the radar," Madison said. "She can play in the back or midfield with her playmaking abilities. She is consistent and diligent player for Nancy McHale and the Spirit USA club team."
"Sarah will be an exceptional contributor to the Virginia field hockey program because of her unmatched work ethic, natural athleticism, outstanding understanding of the game and ability to read the field," Weber's high school coach, Ali Collins, said. "She will make a smooth transition to Division I field hockey with to her experience defending the top players in the state of New Jersey. Moorestown High School congratulates Sarah and wishes her the best of luck at the University of Virginia."