December 10, 2009

Katie Bolling Elected 2010 Yale Field Hockey Captain

Junior Goalkeeper is Bulldogs' 40th Captain

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Junior goalkeeper Katie Bolling (Ann Arbor, Mich.) has been elected captain of the Yale field hockey team for the 2010 season. Bolling, the 40th captain in Yale history, was selected by a team vote at Ray Tompkins House Wednesday afternoon.

"It is an honor to be a captain, especially at a university such as Yale, and to know that my teammates have confidence in me," said Bolling. "There are so many strong leaders in my class. They are also my best friends. The way that way we have come together as a unit is really going help lead the team to where we want to be next year. We have come so far from being freshmen."

Bolling and the Bulldogs are coming off one of the best seasons in school history, as they set the school record for Ivy League wins with six and finished tied for the third-most overall wins in school history (12). Yale also earned votes in the national poll for five straight weeks.

Bolling's election as captain is another sign of the dramatic progress both she and the team have made since her freshman season. The Bulldogs went 7-10 that year, and she did not play a minute. Her teammates saw something in her, though; she earned the Senior Award, given by the senior class to the freshman team member who reflects positive contribution to the team's philosophy and whose individual character encourages the future direction and excellence of Yale field hockey. She then made a huge step forward in 2008, earning second team All-Ivy League honors while posting a .809 save percentage (third in the NCAA) and a 1.89 goals against average. This past season she split time in goal with senior Charlotte Goins (New Bern, N.C.), a 2007 second team All-Ivy selection, and lowered her goals-against average to 1.51. The duo combined for 12 wins and three shutouts.

"Katie's communication and leadership in our backfield was important to our success this past season, and will be critical in 2010," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "Katie is an extremely hard worker who never gives up and never gives in, and that is an important value on our team."

Bolling noted the important role that her freshman season and playing alongside Goins had in her development.

"Not playing my freshman year meant a lot of learning from Char, who was pretty much my mentor at Yale," Bolling said. "We always joked about how together we'd make a ‘Super Goalie' because she has amazing foot skills and aerial skills, and I have clears. We really worked off each other. Learning from Char, I've become more vocal. Freshman year I don't think I spoke at all, just out of being a freshman and trying to take everything in. Char helped me become more of a vocal leader on the field as well as off the field."

Bolling also credited Stuper, and goalkeepers coach Tamara Durante, for helping her as well.

"Coach Stuper is the Mideast Coach of the Year, and that shows that she knows where she wants this program to go and she's leading it in the right way," Bolling said. "As a goalie I've worked with Tamara for three years. ‘T' has definitely made me a better goalkeeper, and also a more confident player and person all around. She was the one who made me speak up. ‘T' really helped me gain confidence in my play."

Bolling is part of a senior class that includes back Erica Cullum (Morristown, N.J.), back Vicki Gordon (Haverford, Pa.), forward Johna Paolino (East Greenwich, R.I.) and midfielder/back Marissa Waldemore (New Vernon, N.J.).

"The rising seniors are more than ready to lead this team and the program to even greater success with Katie Bolling leading the charge," said Stuper. "Katie's growth and development has been incredible. She has worked tirelessly to improve herself and the team."

In 2010 the Bulldogs face the challenge of replacing one of the best classes in school history, including the school's all-time leader in points (senior forward Ashley McCauley (Rye, N.Y.)) and the school's single-season assist record holder (senior midfielder Katie Cantore (Hershey, Pa.)). Those two were both first team All-Ivy League selections. The 2009 captain, senior back Julia Weiser (Houston, Texas), was a second team All-Ivy selection and her leadership skills will also be missed. But the Bulldogs also have a 2009 second team All-Ivy League pick returning in sophomore midfielder Dinah Landshut (Hamburg, Germany), and three honorable mention honorees in freshman midfielder/forward Mary Beth Barham (Fairfax, Va.), sophomore back Erin Carter (Perkiomenville, Pa.) and sophomore forward Mia Rosati (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.)

"This year was extremely successful," Bolling said. "One thing that our class wants to focus on is not thinking about ‘Oh well, one of the best midfielders in the nation is gone.' We have one of the strongest benches in the nation and they are going to step up into those positions. We have a very strong forward line that is going to step up at Ashley's position. When they get those minutes, they will get the goals. Instead of focusing on the past we're focusing on where players will step up."

Along those same lines, Bolling will also draw on the leadership skills of the captains she has played for at Yale.

"All the captains that I've had have made a huge impact on me," Bolling said. "Julia led in a way where she made sure everyone was on the same page. She connected with every class. She made sure every single player on this team knew where the program was going, and that they were on board with her."

Bolling captained the field hockey team at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, where she won state titles in 2005 and 2006. She was also a Michigan High School Field Hockey Association Academic All-Star, academic all-state, a National Merit Finalist and a member of the National Honor Society.

Bolling's older brother, Michael, was a punter for the Cornell football team. She considered attending other Ivy League schools, and schools back home in the Midwest, when applying to college. Her visit to Yale convinced her to become a Bulldog.

"What really sold me on Yale was meeting the team for the first time," Bolling said. "I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. This was the only place I considered playing field hockey. After I met the team and after I was on campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be for four years."

Bolling is a member of Saybrook College at Yale. A two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad honoree, she is a history of science/history of medicine major and intends to go to medical school. She spent last summer in Swaziland as part of Yale Summer Session. She took a class that dealt with public health and HIV/AIDS through theater. That included working with Clowns Without Borders, a humanitarian organization that teaches orphaned and vulnerable children -- including those that have lost parents to AIDS -- about public health. Part of Bolling's duties involved dressing up as a clown to visit public schools in Swaziland for educational shows.

"Katie is one of our most disciplined student-athletes and has helped define what our team is about both on and off the field," said Stuper. "A student and an athlete, Katie's success is evident in the classroom, as well as on the field."

Bolling is the third goalkeeper in Yale history to be elected captain, joining Janelle Kellman '95 and Lorraine Pratte '78. She is the second captain from Michigan, joining fellow Ann Arbor native Liz Dawson ‘98, who attended Huron High School.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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