Aug. 14, 2009

Courtesy of James Madison

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 13, 2009 – Three All-Americans, including the national player of the year, were included among three James Madison field hockey standouts honored as the Colonial Athletic Association announced its field hockey Silver Anniversary team, honoring the top 25 players in the sport since the league’s inception.

The JMU student-athletes include forward Carole Thate (1993-95), the 1995 Honda Award winner as national player of the year, midfielder Baillie Versfeld (2003-06), a two-time All-American and current assistant coach, and rising senior goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins (2006-09), a two-time All-American, Academic All-American, and CAA Player of the Year.

As part of its 25th Anniversary celebration in 2009-10, the CAA is recognizing Silver Anniversary teams in 21 championship sports.  The teams are selected by a panel of current and former head coaches in the conference.

The CAA has been one of the premier field hockey conferences in the nation since the league began sponsorship of the sport in 1991. Perennial power Old Dominion won national championships in 1991, 1992, 1998 and 2000, and James Madison captured the national championship in 1994. ODU, under legendary coach Beth Anders, has earned 13 CAA championships and has reached the NCAA Tournament in 17 of their 18 seasons as a league member. JMU has won four CAA titles, including the last three in a row (2006-08), and has made the NCAA Tournament nine times in the past 18 years. Delaware claimed the CAA championship in 2004 in its third year as a member of the CAA. William & Mary has advanced to the NCAA Tournament on two occasions (2000 and 2002).

Thate (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) led the Dukes to the 1994 NCAA National Championship and helped JMU to a 57-14-1 record in her three seasons.  In addition to the Honda Award, she was named the College Sports Magazine Field Hockey National Athlete of the Year in both 1994 and 1995.  She was one of only two CAA athletes to earn three Player of the Year honors (1993, 1994, 1995) while also earning CAA Tournament MVP honors in 1993 and 1994.  Thate went on to compete in the Olympics with The Netherlands in 1996 and 2000.  She was inducted into the JMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.  Thate ranks sixth in NCAA history with 268 career points and eighth in NCAA history at first at JMU with 116 goals.  Her career point and goal totals are nearly equal to the combined total of the second- and third-place players in JMU history, despite playing only three seasons.  Thate also shares the JMU career record for assists with 36 and holds the school mark for game-winning goals with 31.  In addition, on the NCAA season record charts, she ranks 11th (93 in 1993), 13th (90 in 1994), and 18th (85 in 1995) in season points as well as 11th (40 in 1994), 14th (39 in 1993), and 17th (37 in 1995) in season goals.  

Versfeld (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe/Dominican Convent) was a two-time All-American (2005 & 2006), four-time All-South, and a four-time All-CAA selection with the Dukes.  Her combination of leadership, ball control, and scoring ability was a major factor in JMU’s rebuilding effort under head coach Antoinette Lucas and led to a CAA title in 2006, the program’s first since 1995.  Versfeld scored 72 points in her career on 27 goals and 18 assists, highlighted by 26 points as a junior in 2005 on 10 goals and six assists.  Her 25th anniversary selection comes on the same day that JMU field hockey players check in for preseason camp and Versfeld’s first season as an assistant coach for the Dukes.

Cutchins (Suffolk, Va./Lakeland) is the most decorated goalkeeper in JMU history as she enters her senior season.  She is one of just three players to earn consecutive CAA Player of the Year honors (2007 & 2008) and the only keeper in league history to collect the honor.  She is also a two-time All-American, two-time ECAC Goalkeeper of the Year, two-time VaSID State Player of the Year, two-time Academic All-American, and two-time All-Region.  She was the CAA Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a junior in 2008-09 (first JMU athlete ever selected), the JMU Female Co-Athlete of the Year, and the JMU Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year while also competing for the U.S. Under-21 National Team.  Cutchins enters her final campaign ranked first in JMU history and 20th in NCAA history with a 0.96 career goals against average.  She is on pace to break the JMU career record for minutes in goal (currently 4,139:03).  Her 199 saves and .777 save percentage also rank in the career top 10 at JMU.  Cutchins led the nation in goals against average in 2008 at 0.72 while setting the JMU season record   She also led the nation in save percentage (.824) and helped the Dukes rank first in shutouts per game (0.52).  She is 6-0 in goal in CAA Tournament competition, leading JMU to three consecutive league titles while allowing just one goal in 422 tournament minutes (0.17 GAA).  Among the four Silver Anniversary teams announced thus far by the CAA, Cutchins is one of just three student-athletes who are still active.

CAA Field Hockey 25th Anniversary Team
Danielle Chellew – ODU
Kelsey Cutchins - JMU
Anna Davis - W&M
Kim Decker - ODU
Marina DiGiacomo - ODU
Leah Geib - Delaware
Janelle Engle - ODU
Kathy Fosina - ODU
Maaike Hilbrand - ODU
Kelli James - ODU
Laura Knorr - ODU
Melissa Leonetti - ODU
Angie Loy - ODU
Kim Miller - ODU
Pam Neiss - ODU
Caroline Nichols - ODU
Jill Reeve - ODU
Samantha Salvia - ODU
Dana Sensenig - ODU
Mimi Smith - ODU
Robin Smith - ODU
Tiffany Snow - ODU
Carole Thate - JMU
Ballie Versfeld - JMU
Adrianne Yoder - ODU