NEW YORK - Columbia head field hockey coach Marybeth Freeman has announced six incoming student-athletes who will join the program for the Fall 2011 season. These talented members of the class of 2015 feature a balanced group of three midfielders, a forward, one back and a goalkeeper.
Columbia finished the 2010 season at 10-7 and with a 3-4 mark in Ivy League play, marking the fourth consecutive winning season for the Lions. Columbia graduates six student-athletes in the class of 2011, but returns an experience group of 14 players in addition to the class of 2015 for the fall.
"We are very excited about welcoming these six talented athletes into the class of 2015. I know with the combination of positions, their various talents and overall eagerness, they will make an immediate impression on this already experienced group. I welcome them and their families to our Columbia program...I know there are great things which lie ahead.
Zoe Blake - West Chester, Pa. (Tower Hill School), Midfield
"I knew I wanted to go to Columbia the moment I walked onto campus. The academics are incredible, the campus is beautiful, it is in one of the greatest cities in the world, and I loved the team and the coaches!" - Zoe Blake
Blake was a four-year letterwinner for the Tower Hill team that was a two-time state champion and four-time state finalist during her career. She was named to the all conference first team as a junior and senior, and was also a first team all-state selection her final season.
"Zoe is a technically and tactically elite level midfielder who I know will flourish in the NCAA," said Freeman. "She will be able to generate our attack in a poised and confident way through the middle one third of the field using her strong possession and elimination skills. She is eager to be a part of this squad and we are equally as eager to work with her and see the valuable contributions I know she will make to the program."
Caroline Donnal - Virginia Beach, Va. (Princess Anne), Forward
"Columbia is my absolute dream school! It gives me the opportunity to have a holistic college experience by allowing me to play the sport I love, study what interests me, and be in the heart of the world's most amazing city...New York!!" - Caroline Donnal
Donnal was a four-year letterwinner for Princess Anne, helping her team to the state finals. Her team won the Beach District Championship twice and was also a two-time Eastern Region finalist. Donnal has competed at the National Indoor Tournament for three years, and the National Futures Championship and the Disney Showcase for two years. She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society, in addition to being an AP scholar with distinction.
"Caroline is a versatile player who uses her speed and athleticism to make her defenders look silly!" said Freeman. "She comes from a competitive high school and club program and we are looking forward to working with Caroline to build on her already strong fundamental skills. I'm so pleased to have a demeanor like Caroline's represent this program at Columbia."
Kyle Marsh - Essex, Mass. (Manchester Essex Regional), Midfield
"I chose Columbia for its incredibly strong academic reputation and field hockey program. When I walked onto campus for the first time, I immediately knew it was the school for me. Columbia offers countless opportunities for me to grow both as a student and an athlete. After meeting with the energetic field hockey staff and welcoming team, I knew that there was no place I would rather be." -Kyle Marsh
Marsh is a three-year letterwinner for the field hockey team, captaining the squad as a senior. She had a standout senior season which saw her earn NFHCA/Harrow Regional All-American honors, and was selected as a Massachusetts Senior All-Star after leading the Cape Ann League with 22 goals and 26 assists. The 2010 Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic selection is also a member of the National Honor Society and is a National Merit Commended student.
"Kyle sees the field very well and has a strong understanding of the game," said Freeman. "She leads by example and possessing that character trait is something I'm excited to see out on the field. After speaking with Kyle, I know she wants to remain a student of the game and I'm looking forward to watching her continue her development throughout her tenure at Columbia."
Marlee Silverstein - Medford, N.J. (Shawnee), Goalkeeper
"I chose Columbia because it is full of opportunity for academic, cultural, social and athletic growth." - Marlee Silverstein
Silverstein earned two letters in field hockey and four in swimming at Shawnee, serving as captain for the swimming team as a senior. She is a fourth year Level I Futures athlete and is ranked in the top one percent of her school's class of 2011. Silverstein is the president of Shawnee's National Honor Society, in addition to being a National Merit Commended Scholar.
"Having worked with Marlee in the past, I know there is a tremendous amount of athletic potential and I look forward to building on her technical skills," said Freeman. "I know she will develop quickly in the tactical sense of the game as she is a goalkeeper through and through! With her bubbly personality and happy demeanor, I welcome her to the squad."
Lauren Skudalski - Wyoming, Pa. (Wyoming Seminary), Back
"I chose Columbia University because it provided me with the best of both worlds. With strong academics and a competitive Division I field hockey program, I knew that Columbia would provide me with the tools for a successful future." - Lauren Skudalski
Skudalski was a four-year letterwinner and captain of the team as a senior. She help lead her team to state championship titles as both a sophomore and senior. The quad was also the Wyoming Valley Conference Champions all four years and the District 2 Class 2A Champions in 2007 and 2008. Skudalski was a second team all-state and first team all-scholastic honoree as a senior, and a Citizen's Voice All-Star team selection as a junior and senior. Off the field, she earned dean's list all four years and received recognition by the Wyoming Chapter of the Cum Laude Society.
"With Lauren's strength and game sense I feel comfortable with her being involved as one of our deep defensive players," said Freeman. "She comes from a terrific high school program and winning is in her blood. Lauren is truly a competitor and her passion for the game is shown whenever she steps on the field through her strong leadership capabilities and technical skills."
Erika Thompson - Manasquan, N.J. (Marine Academy of Science and Technology), Back/Midfield
"Columbia's academic rigor, athletic programs, and city atmosphere make Columbia extremely attractive to me and I could not see myself at a university more fitting." - Erika Thompson
Thompson competed for four years on the Wall High School team, finishing her career with 42 goals and 48 assists. She was a second team all-state honoree in 2010, and first team All-Shore in 2009-10. She helped her team to a state championship in 2008, and second place finish in 2010. In addition to competing for Wall, Thompson has participated in the Futures Elite, is a junior Olympic gold medalist, and a 2011 U-19 Disney Showcase gold medalist.
"Whether it's on the forward line or in the back field, Erika's passion for the game is depicted by the smile on her face!" said Freeman. "She comes to Columbia with many athletic credentials and experiences and I know she will be an impact player for Columbia field hockey. She is truly a joy to watch compete and we're excited to elevate her into the next level of the game."