Feb. 26, 2009

Courtesy of Duke

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke field hockey head coach Beth Bozman today announced the signing of five student-athletes who will join the team beginning with the 2009 season and will represent the Duke University Class of 2013.


Pennsylvania natives Chelsea Amsley, Devon Gagliardi, and Abby Hassinger join Virginia’s Maartje van Rijswijk and Mary Nielsen of British Columbia.


The group will step onto a Blue Devil squad that in 2008 recorded an overall record of 15-6 en route to its 10th overall NCAA Championships appearance and sixth Elite Eight in the last seven seasons, defeating six ranked teams. The squad advanced to the second-round of the tournament with a win over Connecticut, before falling 8-5 to the eventual national champion Maryland Terrapins.


Duke graduates three seniors from the 2008 roster.


Amsley, a midfielder/attacker, comes to Duke from Chambersburg, Pa., and Chambersburg Area Senior High.


Bozman on Amsley: “Chelsea is a solid player with an incredible work ethic. Her desire, attitude, and drive are unrivaled – they are the intangibles that will make her shine in our line-up.”


Amsley on choosing Duke: “When it came down to making my decision, I had a hard time finding reasons why Duke wasn’t the right place for me. Everything I was looking for, they had – an outstanding academic program, legendary athletics, and unmatched school spirit. Also, I felt that I fit in with the girls on the team right from the get-go. They were truly a team, not individuals, and this was something I knew I had to be a part of.”


From the parents: “Chelsea was seeking a university that offered a high academic and athletic standard which Duke University is known for. When she visited the Duke campus for her Junior Day visit, she knew then that Duke fit her standards, and knew that this was the place for her. As parents, we were impressed with both the academic support system in place and the excellent field hockey program that Duke has. We feel, too, that Duke has the most to offer our daughter as a student-athlete.”


Gagliardi, a midfielder, joins the team via Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Wyoming Seminary, the alma mater of senior All-America Laura Suchoski.


Bozman on Gagliardi: “Devon steps in for graduating fellow Wyoming Seminary alum Laura Suchoski. Pretty big shoes! But, Devon comes in with similar experience and accomplishments. And most importantly, similar passion for Duke hockey.”


Gagliardi on playing in the ACC: “I cannot wait to play and compete in the ACC. Playing against some of the best talent in the country each game provides a great opportunity both for me, individually, to become a better field hockey player, and also, for the team to develop and grow together. Some of my earliest memories while competing in field hockey include keeping close tabs on the storied rivalries in the ACC. I feel privileged to play in the ACC on one of the best teams with a great coaching staff.”


From the parents: “Family, and particularly my children, are a priority in my life. As I look toward Devon’s departure for university life, I wanted to ensure that she was receiving top notch instruction in sports, in the classroom, and through life lessons. I found Coach Beth Bozman to be the type of individual that would help Devon mature on and off the athletic field. Moreover, the academic life at Duke is consistent with the high standards I encourage and expect.  As I send Devon off to Duke University, I am confident she will be intellectually challenged, athletically motivated and socially stimulated.”


Hassinger, a native of Dauphin, Pa., joins the Duke program from Central Dauphin High.


Bozman on Hassinger: “It’s rare to find a truly talented defender who can step in and play at this level. I think Abby is that rare player.”


Hassinger on the defining moment in her decision: “Duke has always been my dream school and when I visited for my Junior Day, I knew Duke was the right choice for me.”


From the parents: “Abby has always thrived on challenges, and Duke is the perfect place to provide both challenging academic and athletic opportunities for her.”


van Rijswijk, an attacker, hails from field hockey hotbed Virginia Beach, Va., and Princess Anne High.


Bozman on van Rijswijk: “Maartje is a Dutch attack player who happens to be the Virginia State Player of the Year. That’s a pretty good combination! We’re excited to add her to our front line.”


van Rijswijk on coming to Duke: “I chose Duke because it’s an amazing school in both athletics and academics. Mostly all of Duke’s athletic teams are nationally-ranked in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Also, playing on a varsity college team is very exciting and a great experience, but Duke doesn’t only give that; it also gives a good start for a future career outside of athletics in whatever direction someone wishes to pursue. On top of everything, the team is great and led by the best coaches in the country. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”


From the parents: “First of all, we were impressed by the high academic standards of Duke and the excellent reputation Duke University has, being one of the top universities in the U.S. and in the world. Secondly, we were very impressed by the field hockey program, the professionalism in the coaching staff, and the atmosphere within the group of players. Thirdly, Maartje is always very competitive and needs to be challenged on the field but also academically. Playing at the highest level is such a challenge.”


Rounding out the group is Nielsen, out of Brentwood College School and a native of Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.


Bozman: “Mary possesses great speed, and her experience with Canada’s national program has really elevated her skills. She will blend perfectly with us.”


Nielsen on the decision: “When I looked at the picture of the Duke team with the chapel behind them, it really made me want to be a part of the team. I am excited to wear the Blue Devil on my chest.”


From the parents: “We feel that that Duke is the right choice for Mary, because it is not what she has been accustomed to so far, and it will be a lot of fun as well as a challenge.”