Defending Ivy Champions Add Five in Class of 2016

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The Yale field hockey huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Fitzgerald, Kumar, Villa, Wells and Wolf Join Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale field hockey team, defending Ivy League champions, welcomes five incoming freshmen to the roster for the 2012 season, including three midfielder/backs, one back and one forward. The group features four players with experience in the USA Field Hockey program and one who is the first Yale field hockey player from Hong Kong.

The incoming class joins a group of returnees that has seen much success under Pam Stuper, who enters her eighth season as head coach. Yale has won 34 games over the past three seasons, the best three-year span in school history. The Bulldogs have increased their season goal total for six straight years, and last year's total (69) broke the school record.

The five newcomers will help offset the graduation of six seniors from last year's Ivy championship squad. Yale has 11 letterwinners returning, including six players who made seven or more starts and four who earned All-Ivy League recognition.

Here is a look at the newest Bulldogs:

 

Danee Fitzgerald
#5
5'3"
Freshman
Back
Rockville, Md./Rockville

USA Field Hockey: Futures participant for four years.

High School: Captained field hockey team as a senior … MVP sophomore and junior year … Led team in goals sophomore, junior and senior years … Debate team finalist in 2012 … IB diploma candidate. 

Club Team: Captain of NIT team in 2012 … Disney Tournament in 2011 … Festival team in 2010.

Notes: First name is pronounced da-NAY.

Why Yale? "Visiting Yale I got a feeling from the atmosphere and the people in general. Aside from the amazing academic program and the amazing field hockey program it just felt right" 

 

Sakshi Kumar
#17
5'7"
Freshman
Forward
Hong Kong/South Island School

National team: Member of Hong Kong National U18 and U21 teams … Played against several visiting international squads.

High School: Captained field hockey team in senior year ... MVP in 2010 & 2012 … Best and Fairest award in2012 … School placed fourth in Division 1 HKSSF inter-school league in 2011 … Also played badminton, netball and soccer, and was on track & field team (long jump and triple jump) … Head Prefect … Student representative on school board of directors … Owen Gray Chemistry Prize … Various prizes in physics and general sciences … UKMT Senior Maths Challenge gold award … UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge gold award … Nationwide finalist in HK CMA Green Engineering competition.

Club Team: Won league championship with Valley RFC.

Notes: Did volunteer work at schools and hospitals in China (Yangshuo), India (Jodhpur) and Philippines (Cebu) … Has done several lecture demonstrations on Indian Classical Dance (Bharatanatyam) at universities around Hong Kong … Brother graduated from Penn's Wharton School.

Why Yale? "The caliber of the opportunities available, when combined with the level of academic excellence and the familial atmosphere, made Yale the perfect choice for me."

 

Noelle Villa
#7
5'2"
Freshman
Midfielder/Back
Green Brook, N.J./Oak Knoll

USA Field Hockey: Futures participant in 2011 … Qualified and played at National Futures Championship.

High School: Field hockey team was ranked No. 1 in the country in 2011 … Also ranked No. 1 in New Jersey … Team was county champions at the varsity and JV levels all four years of her career … Team won Varsity Tournament of Champions in 2010 season … Most Improved Player in 2009 season … Played softball for two years, earning MVP as a sophomore in 2010 … Also played one year of basketball …  Academic Council President/student body Vice President, senior year … Cum Laude Society (equivalent of National Honor Society) Inductee junior year … National Spanish Honor Society Inductee junior year … AP Scholar with Honors … School peer tutor … Art Department Award junior year.

Club Team: Played for The Edge Field Hockey Club … MVP of Dita JIFH Tournament … Won Gold at National Field Hockey Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and several other tournaments, including Dita JIFH, Susquehanna Tournament, Big Apple Tournament and Garden State Games … Won Bronze at National Club Championships in 2011 … Competed at National Indoor Tournament in 2008 and 2011.

Notes: Yearly volunteer as summer camp counselor at Sacred Heart School in Jersey City, N.J. … Monthly volunteer at St. Ann's Soup Kitchen in Elizabeth, N.J. … Volunteered on Dominican Republic Service mission … Interests include creative writing, drawing, painting and photography.

Why Yale? "The moment I stepped on campus, I knew Yale was the place for me.  I love that the athletics and academics are at an intense level and are complemented by accomplished coaches and professors who excel at what they do. Combine that with the inclusive, hardworking community and I just could not say no."

 

Nicole Wells
#19
5'4"
Freshman
Midfielder/Back
Bryn Mawr, Pa./Baldwin School

USA Field Hockey: Futures participant 2007-2012 … Futures Level 1 2008-2012 …  Represented Pennsylvania at the National Futures Championship 2008-2012 … Futures Elite 2011-2012.

High School: Played on varsity field hockey team for five years … Captained team her senior year and won MVP … All Main Line First Team, All Inter-Ac League First Team, and Academic All-American in 2011 ... All Main Line Second Team and All Inter-Ac League First Team in 2010 … All Main Line Second Team, All Inter-Ac League First Team, and won team's Most Valuable Defender Award in 2009 … All Main Line First Team, All Inter-Ac League Honorable Mention, and won team's Most Goals Award in 2008 … Also played lacrosse and volleyball … Received Ruth Davidson Elite Athlete Award in 2012 … Student tour guide for six years … Represented her school's Athletic Association for two years.

Club Team: Played for X-Calibur Knights … Attended National Indoor Tournament from 2007-2012 … Team came in second place in A Pool at National Indoor Tournament in 2011, then came back to finish in first place in A Pool in 2012 … Attended National Festival Tournament from 2008-2012 … Won Festival Gold Medal in A pool in 2011 and 2012 … Festival Gold Medalist in 2010… First place (2010) and third place (2011) at Disney Showcase.

Notes: Has done community service working as an assistant for special needs children at Main Line Art Center … Also worked as a tutor at Bryn Mawr Tutoring … Mother, Bernadette Wheeler, is also an Ivy Leaguer (graduated from Brown in 1982).

Why Yale? "I visited Yale quite a few times during my junior and senior year, and my love for the school only increased. Yale is a perfect combination of amazing academics and exceptional field hockey players and coaches. What other choice was there?"

 

Molly Wolf
#14
5'4"
Freshman
Midfielder/Back
Endwell, N.Y./Maine-Endwell

USA Field Hockey: Junior Olympics in 2010 … National Indoor Tournament 2008-2012 … National Futures Championship 2010-2012 … National Hockey Festival in 2010 and 2011 … Disney Showcase 2009-2011. 

High School: Four-year starter … 2011 Regional All-American … NYS All State Player in 2010 and 2011 … All Division First Team in 2010 and 2011 … Team was Section IV Champions 2008-2011 … Team was Class B Final Four Participants in 2011 and Class B second place in 2009 at New York State Field Hockey Championship … Team was also Division Champions in 2008 and won Team Sportsmanship Award … On outdoor track team for four years and indoor track team for three years …  Class of 2012 Valedictorian … AP Scholar with Honor.

Club Team: Played with CNY … Team won its pool at 2012 National Indoor Tournament.

Notes: Member of Habitat for Humanity and Challenge Team.

Why Yale? "From my first visit I felt like I finally found somewhere that I fit in. Everyone is so willing to help instead of competing against each other; the people at Yale seem like one big family. That in itself is reason enough, everything else just fell into place."

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

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