DURHAM, N.C. – Coming off of a trip to the NCAA semifinals and a 17-7 finish in 2013, head coach Pam Bustin and the Duke field hockey program announced Wednesday, Feb. 12 the addition of six student-athletes for the 2014 campaign.
The Class of 2018 features players from four different states and includes Alexa Mackintire of Massachusetts, Sarah Furey and Stephanie Pezzuti of New Jersey, Alyssa Chillano of Pennsylvania and Ainsley Gill and Meghan Norair of Virginia.
"Duke True welcomes this incoming class and their supportive families with open arms,” Bustin said. “The talent, character, experience, versatility, selflessness, focus and enthusiasm of this class are remarkable. Each individual has made a personal commitment to continue to grow their own game while collectively maintaining Duke's expected level of excellence towards a national championship and within the classroom. Only a gifted group like this could follow the exit of our beloved 2014 senior class. Their impact will be immediate and their will to win significant. Welcome, class of 2018!"
Here is a closer look at the Class of 2018:
Alyssa Chillano - Midfield - Phoenixville, Penn. - Spring-Ford
Chillano was a member of the U.S. U21 junior national team that qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup with a strong showing in Mexico during the fall of 2012. The Phoenixville, Penn., native has also been a member of the U19 and U17 junior squads and has competed in the U.S. Futures Elite program. An NFHCA first team All-American as a junior and a two-time all-state honoree, Chillano will join the Duke midfield from Spring-Ford High School in Royersford, Penn.
Bustin’s Take: "Alyssa comes to Duke with an impressive hockey résumé. Her US team and international experiences should assist Alyssa with her high school to top NCAA Division I competition transition. She has playing experiences with many of her new Duke teammates and understands the routine of elite preparation. Her natural leadership qualities matched with her own disciplined work ethic will complement our program's already dedicated structure."
Sarah Furey - Midfield/Defense - Mt. Laurel, N.J. - Bishop Eustace
A four-year letterwinner at Bishop Eustace, Furey closed out her prep career with 51 goals and 63 assists. She was a two-time first team All-South Jersey selection and a three-time first team all-conference honoree, in addition to earning a spot on the all-state second team for three years. Furey has been a member of the U.S. U17 and U19 junior national teams and a U.S. Futures Elite/High Performance athlete.
Bustin’s Take: "I am thrilled to introduce Sarah Furey as a Duke Blue Devil! Like Alyssa, Sarah has benefitted from a great field hockey background. She has been blessed with great coaching and with the opportunities to compete within our US National development program. Her natural game sense and strong skill set, as well as her fierce competitive spirit, will be assets to our on-field strategies."
Ainsley Gill - Midfield - Virginia Beach, Va. - Norfolk Academy
A product of Virginia Beach, Va., Gill garnered Southern Region All-America and conference player of the year honors as a senior after amassing 18 goals and 30 assists her final season. She finished her career with 45 goals and 75 assists while earning all-state distinction and first team all-conference accolades three times. Gill also brings national-level playing experience as a member of the U.S. U17 junior national team in 2012-13 and a participant in the U.S. Futures Elite program.
Bustin’s Take: "Ainsley brings much positive energy and versatility to our Duke roster. She is a gifted athlete whose speed and tenacity will add an important dimension to our play. Her solid skills and willingness to do whatever is necessary to help the team succeed will make her a valuable contributor within our roster. Ainsley's healthy perspective towards competition will undoubtedly aid in Duke's ability to embrace and take on any challenge!"
Alexa Mackintire - Defense - Southborough, Mass. - St. Mark’s School
Mackintire also brings junior national team experience to the Duke program as she is currently a member of the U.S. U19 junior squad and previously played on the U17 junior national team. A two-time NFHCA first team All-American and four-time all-league selection, she totaled 18 goals and 18 assists during her senior campaign at St. Mark’s School in addition to earning ISL League MVP honors. Mackintire guided her team to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council title in 2012, garnering tournament MVP accolades.
Bustin’s Take: "I cannot believe that it is finally time to introduce Alexa! I am so happy that she has chosen Duke and I look forward to bringing her hockey game to Durham. Alexa has represented the US junior teams and has competed with the best in her age group. Her skills are sharp and her athleticism exceptional. Alexa's talent will continue to develop and shape the backfield integrity of Duke field hockey."
Meghan Norair - Forward - Fredericksburg, Va. - Fredericksburg Academy
Norair totaled 79 goals and 51 assists while guiding Fredericksburg Academy to two state titles during her prep career. The two-time all-state player of the year and three-time all-conference player of the year, she has also competed on the national level in the U.S. Futures Elite program as well as in the Junior Olympics Games, where she earned a silver medal. Norair was selected the recipient of the National Futures Championship Barbara Longstreth Sportsmanship Award.
Bustin’s Take: "Meghan will bring an element of speed and unpredictability to our game style. Her work ethic and competitive attitude are the necessities to Duke field hockey success. Meghan's positive attitude is contagious as well as her Duke pride that she shares with her teammates and coaches."
Stephanie Pezzuti - Midfield - Fairfield, N.J. - West Essex
Pezzuti comes to Duke from West Essex High School in North Caldwell, N.J., where she enjoyed a standout prep career. As a senior, she recorded 19 goals and 30 assists en route to being named the Essex County Player of the Year and was also a first team All-America and all-state selection. A two-time national all-region honoree and a three-time all-conference, all-county and all-group player, Pezzuti twice led her team to the New Jersey Group II state title, scoring the game-winning goal in the final as a senior in 2013.
Bustin’s Take: "I am proud to welcome Steph Pezzuti to the Duke field hockey program. Steph's hard core competitiveness and consistent work rate will challenge our program to be better. She is reliable on and off the field and is ready to get to work with the Blue Devils. Her natural athleticism and laser focus will make her a tough player to beat and a great player to coach!"