Bulldogs Cap Season with Team Banquet, Awards

Dec. 4, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale field hockey team wrapped up the 2006 season with its annual team banquet Friday night at Ray Tompkins House. The Bulldogs presented their team awards at the event, honoring freshman Stephanie Colantonio (Watertown, Mass.) with the Senior Award, senior midfielder Rachel Lentz (Short Hills, N.J.) with the Amanda Walton Award and senior midfielder Heather Orrico (Southbury, Conn.) with the Coaches Award. Yale also introduced junior forward/midfielder Harriet Thayer (Briarcliff, N.Y.) as the team captain for 2007.

Colantonio appeared in one game this season. The Senior Award is awarded by the senior class to a 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.

"No matter what her role, Stephanie always gave it her best," said head coach Pam Stuper. "Her contributions to this team both on and off the field were an important part of our success. I look forward to the next three seasons with Steph!"

Lentz was second team All-Ivy, tying for the league lead in goals with nine and tying for third in points with 19. She was also named Academic All-Ivy and is a three-time NFHCA Division I National Academic Team selection.

The Walton Award is given by the Yale players and coaching staff to that team member who demonstrates the ability to confront challenges, displaying the courage to overcome them, while inspiring teammates with her work ethic and unselfish attitude. It is named after Amanda Walton '02, who has been an inspiration to the Bulldogs. After her sophomore year at Yale, Walton -- a field hockey and lacrosse player -- was involved in an automobile accident which put her career on hold. She overcame a coma and physical injuries with hard work and dedication and currently serves as a special assistant to the Yale coaching staff.

"Every day people are presented with obstacles and adversity, but not all choose to confront their challenges the way Amanda and Rachel choose to confront theirs," said Stuper, who was an assistant coach when Walton played for Yale. "Rachel, like Amanda, is a fighter who `finds a way.' Throughout her four years, Rachel inspired her teammates with her work ethic and always gave it her best. One of the most unselfish women I have ever met, Rachel, like Amanda, continues to be an inspiration to us all."

Orrico, the team captain, had two goals and six assists while also anchoring a defense that did not allow more than two goals to any Ivy opponent. She was named second team All-Ivy for her efforts and has previously been a first-team NFHCA Mideast All-Region selection along with being named to the NFHCA Division I National Academic Team and earning Academic All-Ivy honors.

The Coaches Award is given to the player who exemplifies principles, direction and persistence in pursuit of field hockey excellence at Yale.

"From the moment Heather stepped on Johnson Field she was a true leader who represented Yale Field Hockey with class, a positive attitude and pride," Stuper said. "Heather always put her teammates first, undoubtedly making them better players and people. She is a champion in many ways."

Thayer was announced as Yale's captain for 2007 in November after a team vote. She was a second-team NFHCA Mideast Region selection and a unanimous first team All-Ivy pick. 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.

"I look forward to Harriet's continued leadership both on and off the field," Stuper said. "She was an important part of our success this year and I look forward to working with her in the pursuit of our 2007 goals."

Yale finished second in the Ivy League, tied for the team's best finish in the last 26 years. The Bulldogs also finished second in 1998 and 2003, the only other times Yale has finished that high since winning the Ivy title in 1980.

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

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