Yale Players, Coaches Take Part in USA Field Hockey's National Championship

June 25, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - There was a major Yale presence at USA Field Hockey's National Championship, held June 17-24 at the USA Field Hockey National Training Center. Three on the New England High Performance Center team roster had Bulldog connections, including junior midfielder Ali Rotondo (Greenville, N.C.) and senior forward/midfielder Harriet Thayer (Briarcliff, N.Y.) along with assistant coach Abby Ostruzka. Yale head coach Pam Stuper and assistant coach Tamara Durante were assistant coaches for the New England team, which was coached by former Bulldog head coach Ainslee Lamb.

New England went 0-3-2 in the tournament, which was won by the Pennsylvania/New Jersey team. Four other regions -- California, Maryland, Midwest and South -- also competed

New England's roster, which included 22 players, was finalized after a series of practices earlier this spring. Thirty-two field players and seven goalies were part of the initial group of players selected Apr. 29th to try out for spots on the National Championship team roster.

The HPC program gives the top field hockey players in each region of the country an opportunity to practice and play on a regular basis along with the chance to be seen by national team coaches and possibly be selected to train with the national team.

Thayer, who was also named to the New England squad last year, has been selected as Yale's captain for the 2007 season. She was a second-team NFHCA Mideast Region selection and a unanimous first team All-Ivy pick last year. She tied for the Ivy League lead in assists with seven and tied for sixth in points with 17. Those totals, along with her five goals, all represented career highs.

Rotondo, a two-time NFHCA Academic Team selection, has appeared in 29 games and started 14 over her first two seasons in New Haven. She has participated in the USFHA Futures Elite program and the USFHA FDIC Camp in addition to being a part of the National Futures Tournament and the National Field Hockey Festival for three years. She also participated in the Junior Olympics in 2003.

Ostruzka has worked mainly with the Bulldog defense during her two seasons on the coaching staff. A sweeper and team captain for UConn, 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. She is a native of Riverside, Conn.

Durante is entering her third season at Yale having worked mainly with the goalkeepers and forwards. She coached the goalkeepers on the New England squad, helping national team member Amy Tran earn the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award. Durante has coached in the Futures Program since 2002 and served as the Great Lakes Regional Futures Director from 2003-05. She has selected for various USFHA programs, including the under-16 national team, Futures Elite, B Camp and A Camp. She also was selected to coach for USA Field Hockey at the 2006 AAU Junior Olympic Games.

Stuper has been at Yale for 10 seasons, including eight as an assistant coach and two as head coach. A member of the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame, she helped lead Yale to three ECAC Championships (1998, 2002 and 2003) as an assistant. A nine-year member of the U.S. National Team, Stuper participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998), one Pan-American Games (1995) and two Champion's Trophy Tournaments (1995, 1997). She was an alternate for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team. Stuper earned a silver medal in the 1995 Pan American Games and a bronze medal in the 1994 World Cup.

No other Ivy League school had as many connections to this year's New England HPC team as Yale did.

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