DURHAM, N.C. – After making its 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals and compiling an 11-8 ledger in 2014, the Duke women’s lacrosse program will welcome nine freshmen this fall ahead of the 2015 campaign.
The class of 2018 features student-athletes from seven different states and includes Gianna Ossello of Colorado, Breezy Thomas of Massachusetts, Oralee Hespenheide and Anne Slusser of Minnesota, Maddie Crutchfield of New Hampshire, Grace Fallon and Jackie Perry of New Jersey, Kyra Harney of New York and Kat Zempolich of Virginia.
"Our staff and returning players are excited and proud to welcome the nine members of the class of 2018 to Duke University today,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “This class represents a fantastic mix of talented students, dedicated athletes and future leaders who possess a tremendous work ethic, competitive spirit and drive to be the very best in the classroom, on the field and in the community. I am confident they will be outstanding additions to our team, Duke Athletics and the greater university community on the whole.”
Maddie Crutchfield - Midfield - Concord, N.H. - St. Paul’s School
A product of Concord, N.H., Crutchfield was a four-time US Lacrosse All-American and New England Prep School All-Star at St. Paul’s. She led her squad in scoring all four years, compiling 383 points (218g, 165a), and guided the team to a pair of Independent School League titles. Crutchfield was selected to compete in the Under Armour All-America Girls Lacrosse Classic earlier this month, where she tallied two goals and led all players in the game with three ground balls.
Grace Fallon - Midfield - Monmouth Beach, N.J. - Red Bank Catholic
A US Lacrosse All-American and Academic All-American, Fallon joins the Duke program from Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, N.J. During her prep career, she recorded 216 goals and 286 assists while leading the state in points and assists her final year. Fallon was twice tabbed an all-conference first team selection and the Shore Conference Player of the Year, and helped her squad capture a state title her sophomore and senior seasons.
Kyra Harney - Attack/Midfield - Bay Shore, N.Y. - Bay Shore
Harney also took part in the Under Armour All-America Classic, registering one goal and one assist in a win for the North squad earlier this month. She was among Long Island’s top-10 leaders in points twice during her prep career and garnered All-Long Island recognition on three occasions. A US Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American, Harney was also named to the all tri-state first team and was a four-year member of the all-county team.
Oralee Hespenheide - Goalkeeper - Shakopee, Minn. - Thomas Jefferson
Hespenheide was an honorable mention All-America selection in the net as a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Minnesota. After leading the state in saves (213) and setting the high school record for lowest goals against average (6.4), she was tabbed the 2014 Ms. Lacrosse Goalie of the Year. Hespenheide was also a two-time member of the Under Armour All-America All-Star team and the Nike “The Ride” select team during her prep career.
Gianna Ossello - Midfield - Wheat Ridge, Colo. - Wheat Ridge
Ossello completed her prep career at Wheat Ridge High School in Colorado, where she was a first team all-state and all-league pick and the Jefferson County League Player of the Year. She joined three other members of the incoming class at the 2014 Under Armour All-America Classic over the summer in addition to receiving the Top Defender Award at Nike’s “The Ride” event in 2013.
Jackie Perry - Midfield - Mountain Lakes, N.J. - Mountain Lakes
A 2014 Under Armour All-American, Perry is set to join the Duke midfield from Mountain Lakes High School in New Jersey. As a senior at Mountain Lakes, she totaled 85 goals to set the single-season scoring record and was a two-time first team all-county and all-league selection. Perry also garnered first team all-state recognition as a senior and was selected to compete in the North New Jersey Senior All-Star contest.
Anne Slusser - Midfield/Defense - Excelsior, Minn. - The Blake School
Slusser comes to Durham from Excelsior, Minn., where she led The Blake School to five state championships and was a three-time all-state selection. As a senior, she ranked top-10 in the state in assists and compiled 79 draw controls while leading all players in the state in caused turnovers as a junior. Tabbed an Under Armour Midwest All-American in 2012, Slusser was also a finalist for the 2014 Ms. Lacrosse Award, given to the top senior player in the state.
Breezy Thomas - Defense - Belmont, Mass. - Groton School
A native of Belmont, Mass., Thomas was a two-time all-league selection as a defender at Groton. She was named her squad’s most valuable defender her junior and senior seasons in addition to receiving the Coaches Award on two occasions. Thomas was also a standout in soccer and basketball during her prep career.
Kat Zempolich - Defense - Clifton, Va. - Centreville
Zempolich comes to Durham from Centreville High School in Clifton, Va., where she was a three-time all-district first team pick. She earned a spot on the all-region team three times and played club lacrosse for the Capital Girls Lacrosse Club. Zempolich also collected US Lacrosse Academic All-America accolades during her prep career.
Check back to GoDuke.com throughout the fall for profiles on each of Duke’s incoming freshmen.