NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware field hockey head coach Rolf Van de Kerkhof (at right)announced Wednesday the signing of 11 outstanding high school recruits, eight from area high schools and three international signees, who have committed to attend UD and compete for the Blue Hens this coming fall.
Van de Kerkhof’s 11 incoming recruits consist of three midfielders, three defensemen, four forwards, and one goalkeeper, who hale from four different states, including three each from New Jersey and Pennsylvania and one each from Delaware and Virginia. The class also consists of three international players representing Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The Delaware Class of 2016 includes midfielder Emily Arnot (Shawnee HS/Medford, N.J.); midfielder/defender Alexa Branco (Clearview Regional HS/Mullica Hill, N.J.); forward Jackie Coveleski (Cape Henlopen HS/Lewes, Del.); forward Morgan Hilliard (Hempfield HS/Lancaster, Pa.); defender/midfielder Janell Holmes (Harrisburg Christian HS/Harrisburg, Pa.); midfielder/defender Maggie McDonagh (Morristown-Beard HS/Montclair, N.J.); midfielder/forward Allie Mikelson (Emmaus HS/Macungie, Pa.); forward/midfielder Maddie O’Beirne (Marshall HS/Vienna, Va.); midfielder/forward Michaela Patzner (Karolinen Gymnasium/Rosenheim, Germany); forward Anne van Stapele (Amsterdams Lyceum/Amsterdam, The Netherlands); and goalkeeper Megane Simons (Sint-Gummarus College/Hove, Belgium).
Below are biographies on each of the 11 incoming student-athletes as well as comments from both Van de Kerkhof and the student-athletes.
EMILY ARNOT • Midfield • Medford N.J. (Shawnee High School)
Arnot (pronounced “are-not”) comes from powerhouse Shawnee High School where she contributed to winning championships in each of her four years. A great team player, Arnot was honored with several individual awards during her senior season, including first team all-conference, first team All-Group 4, first team All-South Jersey, and second team All-State Group 4. She also was a key member of Spirit of USA Field Hockey Club under the leadership of Nancy McHale and Lori Hillman.
“Emily comes to UD as an all-round person. She received excellent coaching and experienced competitive academics and athletics at Shawnee and with Spirit of USA. The Blue Hens are looking forward to further developing her as a student-athlete and are looking forward to her contributions as a member of our program in the future.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
”I chose UD because it was where I felt most comfortable and at home. Everything from the campus and the students to the team and coaches made me feel like I belonged here.” - Emily Arnot.
ALEXA BRANCO • Midfield/Defense • Mullica Hill, N.J. (Clearview Regional HS)
An All-South Jersey selection and All-Tri County Conference pick, Branco comes to UD ready to take the next step in her development as a talented player. After an outstanding senior year for Clearview Regional, she was invited to participate in her region’s Senior All-Star Game. Additionally, Branco participated in the USA Field Hockey’s Futures Program and played for Model Field Hockey Club.
“Alexa comes to UD excited to learn and grow as a Blue Hen. She has the qualities a coach is looking for in a student-athlete. She understands the importance of playing simple and smart field hockey and also possesses strong communication skills. Those qualities should assist in elevating our individual and team performances.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof
“I chose UD because of the atmosphere at the campus, faculty, and team. From the first time I stepped on the campus I loved it and the spirit of the university, my decision to become a UD student-athlete was easy because I loved the team, and all the girls seemed to love it and get along well.” - Alex Branco
JACLYN “JACKIE” COVELESKI • Forward • Lewes DE (Cape Henlopen HS)
A 2011 Delaware state champion at Cape Henlopen High School, Coveleski (“co-vuh-leski”) comes to UD with an impressive field hockey resume with many team and individual honors. She earned second team All-American honors this past fall, was a first team All-State selection in both 2010 and 2011, and was a three-time All-Henlopen Conference pick. She also was a U.S. Junior Olympics participant as a freshman.
“I am excited to welcome one of the best - if not the best - graduating senior in the state of Delaware to the Blue Hen field hockey program. Jackie has the skills, understanding, and mentality to score and assist. I believe she can become a great Blue Hen representing her home state and state university.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
"I chose the University of Delaware because it is such a great school and it fit me perfectly. The fact that I really like the team and have been given the opportunity to play is the icing on the cake.” - Jackie Coveleski.
MORGAN HILLIARD • Forward • Lancaster PA (Hempfield HS)
Hilliard was a 2011 Pennsylvania AAA state champion and brings a wealth of competitive experience and exposure with her from Hempfield High School. While at Hempfield, she helped lead the squad to three Pennsylvania AAA state Final Four berths. She was able to further improve as a field hockey player while being a member of Lanco Premier team under coach Bree Gillespie.
“Morgan has all the attributes our program is looking for. She is a competitor academically and athletically and understands the importance of preparing for success. I am looking forward to assisting Morgan in becoming a solid contributor to Blue Hen field hockey.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I chose UD because it offers what I want in my future college - apparel design and field hockey. There are only a few schools which have both and I was very content when I discovered that UD presented these options.” - Morgan Hilliard
JANELL HOLMES • Defense/Midfield • Harrisburg PA (Harrisburg Christian HS)
Holmes, a 2011 CCAC conference champion, comes to UD after she collected top honors all four years at Harrisburg Christian High School. She led Harrisburg Christian to four CCAC championships and was selected to the All-CCAC first team each year. Janell has been fortunate to receive coaching from Bill Gaudette while playing for and traveling with the East Coast Field Hockey Program.
“Janell knows what she wants and what she can do as a person and student-athlete. I look forward to assisting her with what she wants as an athlete in my program and as a student at UD. She has tons of energy and will make people around her better.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I thought UD was a great fit for me because I loved the nursing program as well as the Blue Hen field hockey family.” - Janell Holmes
MARGARET “MAGGIE” McDONAGH • Midfield/Defense • Montclair NJ (Morristown-Beard School)
McDonagh (“mick-dunna”) was part of changing a culture at Morristown-Beard with a highlight of captaining her team to the state Prep Championship her senior year this past fall. Aside from playing at Morristown-Beard, she has been enjoying hockey development opportunities with Bobby Issar with the Spirit Eagles. McDonagh is a hockey player, playing both competitive field and ice hockey while in high school. As an ice hockey player she was part of the 2010 New Jersey state championship team.
“Maggie is an extremely hard worker who understands that it takes time, energy, and continued effort in order to make progress. She is a leader who will speak her mind. I am looking forward to having her contribute to our program’s goal-setting and working towards those goals as a player, as a leader, and as a student-athlete.”- Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I chose Delaware for so many reasons. It has a beautiful campus just three hours from my home. My uncle is an alumnus and he absolutely adores the school. I chose to be a student-athlete in college because I want to continue my hard work and talent in the classroom and on the field. Delaware had my intended major - business and fashion merchandising - so that definitely drew me towards the school as well. ” - Maggie McDonagh.
ALLISON “ALLIE” MIKELSON • Midfield/Forward • Macungie PA (Emmaus HS)
Mikelson (“michael-sun”), a 2011 conference and district champion, comes from powerhouse Emmaus High School and has contributed to winning championships in each of her three varsity seasons. Mikelson also continued her growth as a player with Firestyx, which is also coached by legendary Emmaus head coach Sue Butz-Stavin. Mikelson also received first team all-league and first team All-State laurels at Emmaus.
“Allie understands the big picture and with that the level of commitment needed to be in a position to pursue success. She possesses the skills, awareness, and attitude to play field hockey as a passing-possession game and creates offensive opportunities while closing down opponents.” Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I chose UD because it was the perfect size, has great academics and athletics, and is also the perfect distance from home. I decided to become a student-athlete because of my love for the game and for the UD coaching staff. I am excited to see where this program is heading.” - Allie Mikelson
MADISON ‘MADDIE’ O’BEIRNE • Forward/Midfield • Vienna VA (George C Marshall HS)
O’Beirne (“oh-beern”), a four-year starter and two-time team Most Valuable Player at Marshall, she had her best season as a senior when she collected first team All-Liberty District, first team All-Northern Region, and second team All-State honors. She also competed at the National Futures Championships through USA Field Hockey and played club hockey with Capitol Pegasus.
“Maddie is a prime example of a diamond in the rough. Although she may have not been heavily recruited while in high school, I am positive that a player like her is one you want on your team at game time. Maddie is in the perfect position to surprise and positively impact people around her as person and further grow as a Blue Hen field hockey student-athlete.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I chose UD because I was drawn in by the warm and encouraging coaching staff and players, the environmental studies program, and the challenge of playing NCAA Division I hockey for the Blue Hens.” - Maddie O’Beirne.
MICHAELA PATZNER • Midfield/Forward • Rosenheim Germany (Karolinen Gymnasium)
Patzner is a former member of the German Under-18 Junior National Team. She represents Munchner Sportclub (Munich) at the junior (Under-19) and senior levels and has been playing at the highest level in her age category for several years. As a player, Patzner had two Final Four appearances and won the national championship once while playing in Germany.
“Michaela (“muh-kale-uh”) is a true team player. She possesses years of skill development, game understanding, and anticipation and we are looking forward to her making future UD teammates better on the field. Her years of competing in the German top leagues and involvement with the German Junior National Team program allow her to gain a great deal of experience that will benefit our UD program.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I was looking for a university that was not too small but not too big and UD was just perfect. My gut instinct also said that the UD program is best for my further development in playing field hockey and getting a good education.” - Michaela Patzner.
ANNE VAN STAPELE • Forward • Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Amsterdams Lyceum)
Since the age of six, van Stapele (“sta-puh-luh”) has been competing for Hockey Club Hurley. Throughout her years at Hurley she represented the top Under-12, Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 junior teams. She still currently plays with the top Under-18 team but has also been able to train and play with the second senior team, a team that competes at the second highest level nationally.
“Anne is a strong academic and athletic performer who is excited to kick off her UD experience as a student-athlete. After graduating a year early, playing at the highest age levels at her Hockey Club Hurley, and with many travels around the world, she will adjust quickly to her home away from home and make other newcomers feel at home in Newark.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I decided to become a UD student-athlete because of the growing program and I would love to be a part of that transformation.” Anne van Stapele.
MEGANE SIMONS • Goalkeeper • Hove (“ho-vuh”), Belgium (Sint-Gummarus College)
Simons is currently a member of the Belgium Junior National Team (Under-21) and represents Braxgata Hockey Club at the Belgium Honors Division. As a goalkeeper, Simons was able to secure two school league championships after making a difference in the stroke-off. During her three recent indoor seasons, she contributed to winning championships after losses in the semifinals the two previous seasons.
“Megane has the ability to become a great goalkeeper for Delaware’s program and strengthen our goalkeepers unit from the start. She has the game understanding, hockey communication, and strong decision-making skills that we need. All of these intangibles are a must-have as a goalkeeper doesn’t get many second chances in the game. As a former goalkeeper myself, I am looking forward to assisting her and returning goalkeeper Sarah Scher to become the best in goal for the Blue Hens.” - Rolf Van de Kerkhof.
“I chose UD as it offers such a high level of academic courses, athletic opportunities, and great facilities. ” Megane Simons
|Emily Arnot||M||Medford, N.J./Shawnee HS|
|Alexa Branco||M/D||Mullica Hill, N.J./Clearview Regional HS|
|Jaclyn Coveleski||F||Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen HS|
|Morgan Hilliard||F||Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield HS|
|Janell Holmes||D/M||Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg Christian HS|
|Margaret McDonagh||M/D||Montclair, N.J./Morristown-Bear School|
|Allison Mikelson||M/F||Macungie, Pa./Emmaus HS|
|Madeline O'Beirne||F/M||Vienna, Va./George C. Marshall HS|
|Michaela Patzner||M/F||Rosenheim, Germany/Karolinen Gymnasium|
|Anne van Stapele||F||Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Amsterdams Lyceum|
|Megane Simons||GK||Hove, Belgium/Sint-Gummarus College