7 Tar Heels, 2 Blue Devils named to field hockey national team

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 04:21 PM

North Carolina will boast seven athletes and Duke two on the 2014-15 U.S. women’s national field hockey team, as announced Wednesday by Coach Craig Parnham.

Blue Devil goalkeeper Lauren Blazing and former Blue Devil defender Stefanie Fee are among the 30 players named to the national team roster at the conclusion of the 2014 Women’s National Championships this month in Lancaster, Pa.

Joining them on Team USA are current Tar Heels Casey Di Nardo and Emily Wold and former Tar Heels Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Jackie Kintzer, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Caitlin Van Sickle. Dawson, Falgowski, Kintzer, Kolojejchick and Wold were part of the U.S. team that finished fourth at the World Cup, a result that boosted the Americans two spots to No. 8 in the world rankings. Van Sickle also is a National Team veteran.

 Di Nardo, who will be a junior this fall, was among the first-time selections to the team. She has represented the U.S. as part of the Under-19 team, but was named to the nation’s top squad for the first time. The rest of the UNC players selected are National Team veterans, including five who represented the U.S. at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in Holland earlier this month. Among that group is Emily Wold, also a rising junior on the UNC squad.

Di Nardo received the news via an email from Parnham. She is vacationing in the Outer Banks with her extended family, including her 21 cousins, giving her plenty of people with whom to share the good news and celebrate.

“I was so pumped because I’ve always wanted the chance to represent the USA and hopefully one day I can,” she said.

Fee recently returned from The Netherlands with the U.S. national team, which earned a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup. A defender on Team USA, Fee helped the squad secure a spot in the tournament semifinals for the first time in 20 years. The team posted victories against England, China, Germany and South Africa, and previously took home the gold medal at the 2014 Women’s Hockey Champions Challenge in May in Glasgow, Scotland.

A 2012 graduate of Duke, Fee started every game for the Blue Devils during her four seasons in Durham. The standout defender garnered All-America, All-ACC and All-ACC Tournament accolades her senior year, in addition to being named to the Longstreth/NFHCA All-South Region first team.

“Congratulations to Stef Fee for again making our U.S. National Field Hockey squad,” said Duke head coach Pam Bustin. “Stef continues to dedicate herself to developing her game to the international elite level. She approaches her training in the most professional and respectful way. Her ‘team first’ attitude continues to carry her to the top and makes her the ideal representative for USA! I could not be prouder of her efforts, her attitude, her commitment and her performances! She had a great year last year and only more to come.”

Blazing, who hails from Durham Academy, enjoyed a breakout season in goal for Duke last fall en route to collecting third team All-America recognition from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. She anchored the Blue Devils to a 17-7 record and the program’s fourth appearance in the NCAA championship match and first since 2005.

As a redshirt sophomore Blazing ranked fifth nationally and first in the ACC in save percentage at .792 and was second in the league in saves per game (5.88). She posted a career-high 22 saves in a 3-2 overtime shootout victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked North Carolina Sept. 27, 2013 and collected All-South Region first team, All-ACC second team and ACC All-Tournament team honors as well as numerous academic accolades, including first team Capital One Academic All-America distinction.

During the fall of 2012, Blazing played for the U.S. U21 national team at the Junior Pan-American Games, helping the squad qualify for the Junior World Cup. At the Junior World Cup in Germany last summer, she guided the U21 team to a seventh-place finish overall while gaining valuable international experience. Blazing is one of seven newcomers to the U.S. national team for 2014-15.

“The cool thing is, Fee will be often training alongside US National Field Hockey squad newcomer and former Duke teammate, Lauren Blazing! After a couple of weeks training with USA and with her performance in last week’s Women’s National Championship, Lauren Blazing was named to the squad,” Bustin said. “Just like Fee (and fellow Duke True award recipient) Lauren approaches her game with the love of competition, and the willingness to work. Her dedication to improvement and desire to learn will continue to fuel her success not only at the collegiate elite level…but within the International realm. Both Stef and Lauren, through their humility and genuine hard work, have earned the right to wear the stars and stripes! GO Fee! Go Blazing! GO USA!”

“The Women’s National Championships has provided a great opportunity to watch a number of players across a full week of tournament hockey to compete for selection for the Women’s National Team,” said Parnham. “It has been pleasing to see the effort from the players and the improvements from game to game. We have selected a squad that sees some new faces and the coaching staff looks forward to working with the group as the Women’s National Team moves forward in the next stages of its development. I would like to thank Spooky Nook Sports for hosting the event and all of the coaches, umpires, parents and support staff who have contributed to the smooth running of the Women’s National Championships over the past week.”

2014-15 U.S. Women’s National Team Roster

Lauren Blazing (Chapel Hill, NC), Marie Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, PA), Natalie Cafone (Fairfield, NJ), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, PA), Chrissy Davidson (Reading, PA), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), Casey Di Nardo (Virginia Beach, VA), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.), Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Kelsey Harbin (San Marcos, CA), Rayell Heistand (Hamburg, Pa.), Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa.), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.), Ali McEvoy (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Jamie Montgomery (Lewisburg, Pa.), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.), Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, N.J.), Hannah Prince (Gorham, ME), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.), Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) and Emily Wold (Freehold, N.J.)