April 4, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Three Bulldogs - junior midfielder Heather Orrico (Southbury, Conn.), assistant coach Abby Ostruzka (Riverside, Conn.) and sophomore forward/midfielder Harriet Thayer (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) have been selected to USA Field Hockey's Elite Performance Training Center training squad for the New England region. The EPTC program gives the top field hockey players in each region of the country an opportunity to practice and play on a regular basis, giving them the chance to be seen by National Team coaches and possibly be selected for one of USA Field Hockey's elite teams.
The training squad of 43, which was announced on Monday, was selected after a series of tryouts throughout the region over the past month. Orrico and Ostruzka were selected to the A squad, while Thayer made the B squad. Players have the opportunity to move up based on their performance in practices and games.
The New England team's ultimate destination is the National Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. from June 29 through July 4. Teams from all six regions in the country will participate in that event. New England's traveling squad for the National Championships will be announced at a date to be determined.
The team, known as the Fire, will have a series of practices and games leading up to the National Championships. Orrico and Thayer, along with the other collegians on the squad, will not be able to participate in any games until the end of the school year but will be able to practice.
Orrico, Ostruzka and Thayer all made the training squad last season, the first year that the program was in place.
Orrico, the 2006 Yale captain, started all 17 games last season. She was a key part of a Yale defense that held opponents to two goals or fewer 12 times, including five straight games at the end of the year. She finished with two goals and three assists. She was named first team Dartfish/NFHCA Mideast All-Region and first team All-Ivy. An excellent student, she was also named to the National Academic Squad and was Academic All-Ivy.
Thayer also started all 17 games, contributing a goal and two assists. She was named honorable mention All-Ivy for the second season in a row. Ostruzka, a former UConn star, worked mainly with the Bulldog defense last fall. A sweeper and team captain with the Huskies, Ostruzka earned NFHCA All-America status her senior year and was selected for the NFHCA Division I North/South All-Star Game. She was also a two-time STX/NFHCA Division I All-Mideast Region All-America selection and was named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American as a senior.
No other Ivy League school has as many connections to this year's New England EPTC team as Yale does. In addition to Orrico, Ostruzka and Thayer, two other Bulldogs tried out for the squad: junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Friedlander (Milwaukee, Wisc.) and freshman forward Jayna Whitcher (North Falmouth, Mass.).
"I am very proud of all of our players that took the initiative to tryout for the New England EPTC Training Squad," said Yale head coach Pam Stuper. "It was a great opportunity to play with some of the best players in the region and they all grew from the experience. It is an honor for Yale Field Hockey to have two members of our team and an assistant coach selected to participate. It is a compliment to all members of the Yale team and the direction this program is going."
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity