RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University Head Coach Kelly McQuade announced the signing of seven student-athletes to the 2010 recruiting class. The group of seven hails from Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and The Netherlands.
"We have been fortunate enough to sign seven strong field hockey talents for 2010," said McQuade. "This group will get us into position to challenge our top opponents and take us to where we want to be competitively. This is a great class and we are expecting big things!"
Among the seven signees are Kelsey O'Brien (Yorktown, Va.) and Rymme van Dessel (Oisterwijk, The Netherlands). O'Brien is the second NFCHA Second Team High School All-American to sign with VCU in as many years. Current VCU Ram freshman Kelsey Scherrer (Chesapeake, Va.) earned the honor in 2008. Van Dessel, a pre-selection member of the Dutch National U-18 team, will make the trip across the Atlantic to join her twin sisters, Flore and Marle van Dessel (Oisterwijk, The Netherlands), both rising seniors.
Also signed are Stephanie DeMasi (Virginia Beach, Va.), Meredith McNelis (Emmaus, Pa.), Kayla Mueller (Allentown, Pa.), Kelsey Powell (Midlothian, Va.) and Emilie Soares (Santa Clara, Calif.).
McQuade on the 2010 recruiting class: "We are proud to be bringing in such a diverse class. The level of talent that we are bringing in is a direct reflection of success to come. Two true defenders, three versatile midfielders and two attacking threats make this class a well-rounded group to join forces with our upperclassmen."
DeMasi, a solid defender at Frank W. Cox High
School, captured Virginia High School League (VHSL) AAA State
titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. As a defender, DeMasi
registered 17 goals and 28 assists in her high school career. She
is a two-time First Team All-Beach District, First Team
All-Tidewater Region, and First Team All-State selection. DeMasi
participated in the National Futures Tournament in 2007 and
DeMasi on becoming a Ram: "From my first contact with VCU, I felt the chemistry and I knew that this where I wanted to pursue my field hockey career and my college education. It just feels right."
McNelis comes to VCU from one of the most
recognized high school field hockey programs in the country, Emmaus
High School in Emmaus, Pa. Coached by the legendary Sue
Butz-Stavin, Emmaus Field Hockey has won nine state championships,
21 consecutive district titles, and 35 conference titles in 36
years. McNelis collected a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic
Association (PIAA) Class 3A State Title in 2007 when she helped her
team to a 27-1 record. A 2008 USA Field Hockey Futures Development
Invitation Camp (FDIC) selection, McNelis is a versatile player who
lifted the the Hornets to a 23-1-1 record as a senior.
McNelis on becoming a Ram: "I'm extremely excited to become a VCU Ram. I'm hoping to make an impact on the team and grow as an individual and a player."
Mueller joins the Rams after playing four years
at Parkland High School in Allentown, Pa. A 2008 and 2009
Pennsylvania All-State selection, Mueller helped the Trojans to the
PIAA Group 3A semi-final during her senior season. A 2009 National
Futures Championship gold medalist in 2009, Mueller was also tabbed
as a Futures Elite selection. A member of WC Eagles Hockey Club,
Mueller won gold at the 2009 National Indoor Tournament (Pool A)
and National Festival.
Mueller on becoming a Ram: "I am looking forward to contributing to the success of VCU field hockey. Being a Ram is an excitingchallenge and I look forward to all of the learning experiences VCU will bring - especially the coaching staff."
O'Brien, a natural defender, joins the Rams
after a stellar career at Tabb High School in Yorktown, Va. A
two-time First Team All-District, First Team All-Region, and First
Team All-State selection, O'Brien was tabbed the VHSL AA
State Player of the Year in both 2008 and 2009. In both her junior
and senior years, Tabb won the VHSL AA State Championship. In
O'Brien's senior season, the Tigers outscored their opponents
197-2. A National Futures Championship participant in 2008 and
2009, O'Brien was selected to USFHA's Junior National
Camp this past summer. Capping off an impressive high school
campaign, O'Brien was named a National Field Hockey Coaches
Association (NFHCA) Second Team High School All-American.
O'Brien on becoming a Ram: "I am truly excited about becoming a Ram! I love the unity of the team and the incredible coaching staff at VCU. While I have had a great high school experience, I am looking forward to this new adventure with my future teammates. It is an exciting time for VCU field hockey and I am honored to be a part of it."
Powell, a midfielder/forward, was a four-year
starter and two-year captain for nearby Cosby High School in
Midlothian, Va. During her senior season, Cosby advanced to the
VHSL AAA State Tournament for the first time in school history
before falling to the eventual State Champion, Cox High School. In
2009, Powell earned First team All-District, First Team All-Region
and Second Team VHSL AAA All-State nods.
Powell on becoming a Ram: "VCU has always been at the top of my list for college. To be able to join the Rams next year and become a part of a team at such a high level of competition is something that I'm extremely excited about and definitely look forward to."
Soares joins VCU from Archbishop Mitty High
School in San Jose, Calif. A speedy midfielder/forward, Soares was
named First Team All-Central Coast Section and First Team
All-Blossom Valley Athletic League in both 2008 and 2009. In
addition, Soares was voted team MVP during her senior season. A
United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) Futures participant,
Soares was selected to the National Futures Championship in 2008
for the state of California.
Soares on becoming a Ram: "I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to become a Ram. The coaches and the girls made me feel like part of a family and I cannot wait to begin my journey at VCU."
van Dessel, a defensive midfielder, joins the
Rams after finishing her high school academic career at St.
Odulphus Lyceum in Tillburg, The Netherlands. A member of the Were
Di field hockey squad in Tilburg, van Dessel finished second at the
U-16 National Championships in 2006. That same year, she won the
U16 Indoor Hockey National Title with Were Di MB1. van Dessel was
selected to the U-16 South of The Netherlands District Team and
from there was eventually selected to the Dutch National U-16 Team.
van Dessel has also been named a preseason pick for the Dutch
National U-18 Team.
van Dessel on becoming a Ram: "I'm really looking forward to playing with my sisters next year. After hearing all of their stories, seeingsome games and campus while on vacation, I can't wait to experience it all myself."
Stephanie DeMasi – Back – Frank W. Cox High School (Virginia Beach, Va.)
* Virginia High School League AAA First Team All State in 2008 and 2009
* Helped Frank W. Cox to a 71-4 record during her final three seasons, including a 27-0 mark in 2009.
* Clinched three straight Virginia High School League AAA State Titles (2007, 2008, 2009)
* Member of Beach Premiere Hockey Club, participated in the National Festival, National Indoor Tournament and the Disney Showcase.
* National Futures Championship selection in 2007 and 2008.
* Daughter of Dr. Richard DeMasi.
Coach McQuade on DeMasi: "Steph is a speedy and steady defender with great tackling skills. She is coming out of a program that has captured VHSL state championships for the past three years, Steph will bring a winning attitude to our program and should provide great competition in the back line."
Meredith McNelis – Midfield –
Emmaus High School (Emmaus, Pa)
* Helped lead Emmaus to an overall record of 98-6-1
* Won the gold medal in the 2006 and 2007 Keystone State Games, silver in 2008, and bronze in 2009.
* Participant at Pennsylvania's Futures Elite site from 2004-2009
* Member of Firestyx Hockey Club, participating in the National Festival and National Indoor Tournament.
* Also a standout in lacrosse, earning All Area honors for defense in 2008 and 2009.
* Sister Melissa is a junior on James Madison University's field hockey squad.
* Daughter of James and Wendy McNelis.
Coach McQuade on McNelis: "Meredith is another recruit who comes from a winning high school program. She will be joining us from Emmaus in Pa. This school breeds field hockey champions, and we're very excited to have Meredith join our squad. Her physical presence on the field provides her with the confidence necessary to make her successful in the transition from high school to college hockey."
Kayla Mueller – Midfield –
Parkland High School (Allentown, Pa)
* Helped lead Parkland High School to a PIAA Group 3A state semi-finals in 2009.
* Two-time PIAA All-State selection in 2008 and 2009.
* 2009 National Futures Championsip participant and gold medalist.
* Clinched the gold medal at the 2008 (U-16 Pool J) and 2009 (U-19 Pool A) National Indoor Tournament.
* Won gold at the 2009 National Festival.
* Member of WC Eagles Hockey Club.
*Also ran track for Parkland.
*Daughter of Lance and Jessica Mueller.
Coach McQuade on Mueller: "We have been actively recruiting Kayla for three years. She is a highly skilled player who is self-motivated. Kayla's maturity both on and off the field is one of someone beyond her years. She will be a great addition to our hockey family."
Kelsey O'Brien – Back –
Tabb High School (Yorktown, Va.)
* Played an integral part in Tabb's VHSL AA State Title runs in 2008 and 2009.
* Played for 2008 National High School Coach of the Year, Wendy Wilson, and helped Tabb outscore its opponents by a staggering 197-2 margin as a senior in 2009.
* Selected as District, Regional, and Virginia High School League AA State Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
* Competed in the National Futures Championships in 2008 and 2009.
* Junior Olympics selection in 2008.
* Was selected to and participated in USFHA's Junior National Camp in 2009.
* 2009 Olympic Developmental Selection.
* Two-time South Region All-American nod (2008 and 2009).
* Voted a NFCHA Second Team All-American in 2009.
* Member of Peninsula Field Hockey Club.
* Daughter of Fred and Chris O'Brien.
Coach McQuade on O'Brien: "Kelsey is a true defender, with great stick skills. Defensive positioning comes naturally to her and she has been a solid left back for her very successful high school team. We are extremely excited about her Junior National Camp selection and know she will fit nicely into our defensive system."
Kelsey Powell – Midfield/Forward – Cosby High School (Midlothian, Va.)
* Led nearby Cosby to their first ever VHSL AAA State Tournament appearance.
* Three-time First Team All-Dominion District and All-Academic selection (2007, 2008 and 2009).
* Two-time First Team All-Central Region nod in 2008 and 2009.
* Team's Most Valuable Player in junior and senior seasons.
* Named 2009 First Team All-Metro by the Richmond Times-Dispatch
* Member of Fusion Field Hockey Club, participated in the National Festival, Disney Showcase and placed first at the ESPN Rise Games.
* Daughter of Brad and Janet Powell.
Coach McQuade on Powell: "Kelsey is a local player that has worked hard to improve the level of competition here in Richmond. Not only is she talented on the field, but off of the field Kelsey is extremely smart and has been awarded the Dean's Scholarship at VCU. Kelsey will make the transition from midfielder to forward at the collegiate level."
Emilie Soares – Midfield/Forward – Archbishop Mitty High School (Santa Clara, Calif.)
* Tabbed Junior of the Year for the Blossom Valley Athletic League in 2008.
* First Team All-Central Coast Section and First Team All-League in 2009.
* Four year Futures participant in Northern California at elite site 11A.
* National Futures Championship selection in 2008, alternate in 2009.
* Member of San Jose Fly Hockey Club, participated in the National Festival.
* Daughter of Jim and Kelly Soares.
Coach McQuade on Soares: "Emilie is a fast midfielder that we will transition into a forward to provide us with another arsenal on attack. Her speed will help her to run with our high paced offense."
Rymme van Dessel – Defense/Midfield – St. Odulphus lyceum (Oisterwijk, The Netherlands)
* Led team to second place finish at the U-16 National Championships (2006).
* Clinched the U-16 National Indoor Championship in 2006.
* U-16 South of The Netherlands District Team selection.
* Was a pre-selection for the Dutch National U-18 team in 2008.
* Member of Were Di Hockey Club.
* Twin sisters, Flore and Marle are captains and juniors on the VCU Field Hockey squad.
* Daughter of Thierry and Yolande van Dessel.
Coach McQuade on van Dessel: "Rymme is a very skilled, versatile defender who can play a fullback or center-mid position. We are very excited to have the last third of the van Dessel daughter's playing for the Rams! Her situation is unique in that her parents are taking a sabbatical and have planned to move to Richmond to support their daughters."