DURHAM, N.C. – After earning the program's first ACC regular season title and first No. 1 national ranking in 2016, the Duke field hockey program and head coach Pam Bustin announced Friday the addition of five student-athletes for the 2017 campaign.
The incoming class includes Libby Thompson of Illinois, Lily Posternak of Maine, Lexi Davidson of Massachusetts, Lydia Smeltz of Pennsylvania and Kira-Lee Gmeiner of Australia.
"I am very excited about the talent and versatility of this incoming class of 2021!” Bustin said. “Individually we welcome great athletes, exceptional hockey players and fantastic young women. Collectively we welcome a group that complements one another's strengths, believe in teamwork and come to Duke on the same mission: to win a championship and to excel in the classroom."
Take a closer look at the Blue Devils' incoming freshman class:
Lexi Davidson - Midfield/Back - The Hill School [Pa.]
The Hill School Coaches - Julie DiLaurentis and Jen Weissbach
A product of North Andover, Mass., Davidson was a Harrow Sports/National Field Hockey Coaches Association High School All-American in 2015 after totaling 27 goals during her junior season. She went on to receive Pottstown Mercury first team recognition as a senior at The Hill School. A current member of the U.S. U19 junior national team, Davidson has also competed with the U.S. U17s and the U.S. U19 national indoor team.
Bustin's Take: “Lexi is a smart, skillful player. She knows the game and the skills necessary to prevail. Her game is ready for the Division I/ACC challenge and I believe we will see a great growth in Lexi's play."
Kira-Lee Gmeiner - Midfield - St. Mary's Anglican Girls' School [Australia]
St. Mary's Coach - Sandra Botica
Gmeiner joins the Duke program from Wagin, Western Australia, where she has been a member of her country's U15 and U13 teams. She has also represented Western Australia on the U21 and U18 national indoor teams, captaining the U18 squad both years. Gmeiner was an all-star game selection her senior season and received athletic colours, the highest sporting recognition, from her school each year.
Bustin's Take: “Finally we can welcome Kira-Lee back to campus! The anticipation for her arrival has been high as we await her smooth yet aggressive style of play to the front half of the field. Kira-Lee's advanced level of experience, love for the sport and her excitement of this new adventure will prove to be a key addition to our squad."
Lily Posternak - Midfield - York High School [Maine]
York Coach - Barb Marois
A native of York, Maine, Posternak guided York to three consecutive undefeated seasons while establishing school career records in goals (88) and assists (57). She provided the game winner that gave York its third straight Class B state championship last fall to earn Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year honors for the third consecutive season. Posternak has played alongside Davidson on the U.S. U19 and U17 junior national teams.
Bustin's Take: “Lily's game continues to strengthen and mature. Her natural instincts and stick skills are superior and should prove to be effective throughout our midfield lines. Lily's poised demeanor will also add great balance to our team intensity."
Lydia Smeltz - Goalkeeper - Central Dauphin High School [Pa.]
Central Dauphin Coach - Janelle Burger
Smeltz completed her prep career in the cage at Central Dauphin, where she was a two-time Pennlive Mid-Penn first team honorable mention selection. She totaled 621 saves in four seasons and logged an 85 percent goals against average. Smeltz was named to the Pennlive Field Hockey All-Star second team as a senior after notching 207 saves and allowing just 44 goals.
Bustin's Take: “We welcome Lydia to our proud heritage of great Duke goalkeepers! Her TEAM first approach and commitment to the position has prepared her for this next challenge. She is a student of the game and her role is key in the success of our everyday training and championship performances."
Libby Thompson - Forward - Lake Forest High School [Ill.]
Lake Forest Coaches - Melanie Walsh and Julie Crouch
A three-year all-state selection at forward, Thompson will come to Durham after leading Lake Forest High School in scoring in back-to-back seasons. She totaled 27 goals as a junior in 2015 and posted a team-high 19 assists as a senior. A team captain her final year, Thompson guided her squad to the state championship following a runner-up finish at states in 2014.
Bustin's Take: “Libby comes to Duke with a reputation for her impressive speed and relentless grit. She is a dangerous forward both with and without the ball. I look forward to watching Libby's game sense grow at the next level and match her exceptional athleticism."