NEWARK, Del. – The reigning 2013 Colonial Athletic Association champion University of Delaware field hockey program is excited to announce a large incoming freshman class for the 2014 season.

Head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof, who will be in his fourth season at the helm of the Blue Hens, revealed that three international players in addition to seven locals hailing from three different states will join his squad.  The group includes six forwards, two midfielders and two goalkeepers as Delaware loses five student-athletes to graduation in the coming weeks.

“As a program, you are always looking to bring in a group of new members to a team that have earned respect by their work ethic, commitment and accomplishments,” remarked Van de Kerkhof, who earned NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year and CAA Co-Coach of the Year honors in 2013.  “I believe that our incoming freshmen, with the right approach and preparation, will have a great opportunity to write their success stories.  Individually, and as a class, they have the ability to contribute to the team’s success in a multitude of facets academically, athletically and as program ambassadors.

Van de Kerkhof continued, “I am very excited for this talented group to join the Blue Hens family.  There is a shared enthusiasm within the returners and coaching staff to welcome the class of 2018 and build our team on and off the field.  All of our newcomers have been key contributors to the success of their well-respected high school and club programs.  They understand what it takes to be a champion and our goal is to continue to be champions.”

The Blue Hens have already welcomed Nicole Berger (Hershey, Pa./Palmyra) with eagerness as she graduated high school early in order to delve into spring semester action.

Fellow newcomers include Lauren Crudele (Voorhees, N.J./Bishop Eustace), Maggie Delp (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen), Lisa Giezeman (The Hague, The Netherlands/Sint Maartens/HDM HC), MacKenzie Meyer (Egg Harbor Township, N.J./Egg Harbor Township), Krissy Mikelson (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus), Taylor Lister (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin), Emmeline Oltmans (Baarn, The Netherlands/Het Baarnsch Lyceum/Gooische HS), Marissa Surdy (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) and Isabelle van der Kaaij (The Hague, The Netherlands/Sorghvliet Gymnasium/Klein Zwisterland HC).

Below are biographies on each of the 10 incoming student-athletes in addition to comments from both Van de Kerkhof and the student-athletes.

NICOLE BERGER | Goalkeeper | Hershey, Pa. (Palmyra Area HS)
A three-year varsity starter and letter winner at Palymra Area High School, Berger led the Cougars to three state tournament appearances.  PHS posted a 58-13 record with 37 shutouts with Berger in the cage. As a member of the True North Field Hockey Club (2012-13) and Mid-State Field Hockey Club (2009-11), Berger competed multiple times at the USFHA National Indoor Tournament and Field Hockey Festival in addition to the Pennsylvania Winter and Summer Keystone State Games.  She also spent time with the USFHA Futures Program in 2010 and 2011.  An academically sound student-athlete, Berger is a Pennsylvania State Field Hockey Coaches Association All-State Academic team and Gladiator/NFHCA High School National Academic Squad honoree in addition to being a member of the National Honors Society and Distinguished Honor Roll.  An anticipated applied nutrition major at Delaware, Nicole is the daughter of David and Constance Berger.

“Nicole has joined the Blue Hens early by graduating high school in January and enrolling at UD for the spring semester.  This has allowed her adjust more on the intercollegiate level as a young goalkeeper.  We are looking 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 Delaware because of its strong academics and all of the unique opportunities that the school offers.  When I stepped on campus, I immediately fell in love with the community of Newark.” – Nicole Berger

LAUREN CRUDELE | Forward/Midfield | Voorhees, N.J. (Bishop Eustace PS)
A three-year starting forward for the varsity squad at Bishop Eustace, Crudele (“cruh—dell”) helped guide the Crusaders to a conference championship in 2013 and New Jersey Group II State Championship in 2012.  During her senior campaign, Crudele was named to the Philadelphia Inquirer First Team All South Jersey.  Additionally, she is a two-time First Team All-Conference selection while being selected to the USFHA Futures National Championships.  Crudele finished her career at Bishop Eustace with 70 goals and also played for the Spirit of USA Club Team that was medal winners at both the National Hockey Festival Tournament and Disney’s Field Hockey Showcase in 2012 and 2013.  Off of the field, she was a student council representative and BE Outreach member while earning First and Second Honor Roll accolades.  An expected political science major, Lauren is the daughter of James and Donna Crudele.

“Lauren comes to UD excited to learn and grow as a Blue Hen.  She possesses passing and elimination skills that will further develop and allow for ‘good times’ on the field.  She has worked hard developing herself into a solid player and surrounding herself with great field hockey opportunities.  Her involvement in winning championships at Bishop Eustace and as a member of the Spirit USA club program has enabled a strong caliber of play.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“The University of Delaware met all of the criteria I was looking for in a school: great academics, strong athletics programs and a beautiful campus.  When I met the field hockey team and coaching staff, there was no question in my mind that UD was where I wanted to be.” – Lauren Crudele

MAGGIE DELP | Midfield/Forward | Lewes, Del. (Cape Henlopen HS)
Coached by former Blue Hens standout Kate Windett, Delp joins Cape Henlopen alumni and Delaware natives in senior Rebecca Pepper and junior Jacki Coveleski on the 2014 squad.  During her four years at Cape, the Vikings took home three Delaware State Championships in addition to posting an outstanding record of 71-2-1.  As a senior, Delp was named First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-State in addition to being named a NFHCA All-South Region All-American and NFHCA Academic All-American as a midfielder.  Delp also spent time with the Best Buddies, National Honors Society and Key Club while serving as the President of the Cape Henlopen Leo Club.  Maggie is the daughter of Catherine Price and Timothy Delp.

“I am excited to welcome Maggie from in-state perennial champion Cape Henlopen.  The Blue Hens are fortunate to continue the pipeline developed with Cape Henlopen High School.  Maggie has the work ethic and drive to be successful, demonstrates competitiveness and knows how to win championships.  She understands the importance of preparing and with qualities like these, Maggie is a pleasure for any coach and team.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I chose the University of Delaware because of its strong academics and competitive field hockey program.  The campus is beautiful and not too far away from home!” – Maggie Delp

LISA GIEZEMAN | Forward/Midfield | Leidschendam, The Netherlands (Sin-Maartens College/HDM HC)
Giezeman (“hize—eh—min”) will be one of six international players on the Delaware roster in 2014 and joins the Blue Hens from the HDM club team in her native The Netherlands.  During the past three seasons, Giezeman and HDM have collected three silver medals and two bronze medals at the Dutch National Championships while picking up a gold medal at the DOD (a tournament of district teams of the Dutch Hockey Federation).  The daughter of Danielle Kool and Jos Giezeman, Lisa plans on majoring in business administration at UD.

“Lisa comes from a great club where she has been well coached and played at the national top youth levels throughout her development.  She offers impressive skillsets that enable her to play multiple positions, which will provide our team with flexibility and exciting attacking depth.  Lisa’s work ethic and passion for the sport will fit in well with our program.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I think that the Delaware field hockey team and the coaching staff have the same passion and goals as I have: getting better as a team and as an individual while winning THE title!  I really liked the campus atmosphere and welcoming environment.  The people everywhere were so friendly.” – Lisa Giezeman

TAYLOR LISTER | Forward/Midfield | Hummelstown, Pa. (Lower Dauphin HS)
Lister is another perennial winner as she joins the Blue Hens from a Lower Dauphin program that recorded a 96-8-1 mark during her four seasons.  The Falcons also captured four Mid-Penn Keystone Championships, two Mid-Penn Conference titles, two District III AAA Championships and two PIAA AAA State crowns.  As a senior, Lister tallied 24 goals and 11 assists to finish her varsity career with 40 goals and 24 assists while earning Second Team All-State, First Team Mid-Penn and First Team Patriot News Big 11 All-Star honors.  Lister also played for the Barracudas and Spooky Nook club teams.  A National Honors Society member, Lister served time with the Women’s Club, Pennsylvania Youth Apprenticeship Program, Student Council, Four-Diamonds Mini Thon and Relay for Life.  An anticipated exercise science major, Taylor is the daughter of Charlie and Debbie Lister.

“Taylor consistently demonstrates an impressive work ethic and plays with a contagious intensity.  Her continued development, passion and drive will directly impact her potential to be an outstanding Blue Hen contributor.  She is a player that makes her teammates look good and aspires for more.  She is a true team player on both sides of the ball.  Taylor will be well prepared as she joins us from coaching legend Linda Kreiser and powerhouse Lower Dauphin.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“The University of Delaware has what I am looking for as a well-known academic school with a small hometown feel.  Also, UD has a great post-graduate physical therapy program and a competitive Division I field hockey program.” – Taylor Lister

MacKenzie Meyer | Forward | Egg Harbor Township, N.J. (Egg Harbor Township HS)
A four-time First Team All-Conference honoree, Meyer finished her field hockey career with the Eagles with 50 goals and 55 assists.  As a senior, she led the team and was 11th in the state of New Jersey with 36 goals and 17 assists.  During her time at EHTHS, Meyer guided the Eagles to three conference division championships and one conference championship while earning three Atlantic City Press First Team Elite accolades.  Meyer played club with the South Jersey Edge, which won the USA Field Hockey Festival twice and participated in the Disney Showcase twice.  Off of the field, Meyer was a varsity scholar involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Operation Beautiful, Renaissance, FCCLA and was a church youth group/nursery volunteer.  The daughter of Della Adams-Meyer and Jeff Meyer, MacKenzie plans to major in cognitive science with a minor in speech and language pathology.

“MacKenzie has the potential to be a power-forward that opponents don’t like to face.  She is passionate about the game and has developed well since we started recruiting her and received her commitment to our program.  I am looking forward to assisting MacKenzie in becoming a solid contributor to Blue Hens field hockey.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I attended a clinic my sophomore year of high school and I knew that day that I wanted to attend and play for the University of Delaware.  I love the campus and athletics facilities and I could picture myself walking through campus and down Main Street.  I’ve attended games and have imagined playing at Rullo Stadium.  During camps and clinics, I liked the way Coach Rolf spoke to and encouraged the team.  He helped me gain confidence in my skills and decision-making in game situations.  I want to be part of his vision for where he sees and wants this team to go.  For me, it was an easy decision and dream come true to attend Delaware.” – MacKenzie Meyer

KRISSY MIKELSON | Forward/Midfield | Macungie, Pa. (Emmaus HS)
No stranger to the Delaware field hockey program, Mikelson joins her older sister, Allie, as a member of the Blue Hens.  Mikelson was a four-year letter winner at Emmaus High School where she led the Hornets to an outstanding mark of 128-5 during her career with three league and district championships.  The Hornets also won the PIAA State Championship in 2010 and were a state finalist this past season.  For her career, Mikelson tallied 81 goals and 55 assists while being named a NFHCA High School All-American First Team, Pennsylvania AAA All-State First Team and League All-Star First team selection as a senior.  Additionally, she was named the 2013 Morning Call All-Area Player of the Year.  Krissy is the daughter of Scott and Nadine Mikelson.

“Krissy is a player that will be a pleasure to watch in the attacking third as she can set up an attack, assist or score with outstanding creativity.  She has performed well under Coach Sue Butz at perennial powerhouse Emmaus high School and member of the Firestyx club program.  Her preparation and experience in field hockey within a competitive environment should provide her with a smooth transition to the Blue Hens.  Krissy is a familiar face within our program as her sister Allie is currently an impact sophomore.  We are thrilled to welcome Krissy and share an excitement to see the Mikelsons link up and play together to generate an even stronger and fast-paced transition game.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I chose the Blue Hens program because it is very competitive and the team is very dedicated to its continued success.  Cheering on my sister, Allie, and getting to know the players and coaches convinced me that I wanted to be a part of this awesome Blue Hens family.  I am very excited to represent Delaware and my goal is to make a positive contribution and impact next season.” – Krissy Mikelson

EMMELINE OLTMANS | Goalkeeper | Baarn, The Netherlands (Het Baarnsch Lyceum/Gooische HC)
One of two incoming goalkeepers, Oltmans (“emm—uh—lean  ole—manz”) was a multi-sport athlete and three-year field hockey starter at Het Baarnsch Lyceum in The Netherlands.  During her tenure, the team won two national league championships while Oltmans was perennially one of the best goalies in the region.  Oltmans also trained with multiple successful international players in Nastasja Erasmus, Arek Matuszak, Vincent vd Peppel and Joyce Sombroek.  Emmeline is the daughter of Freerk Oltmans and Raiza Oltmans and intends to major in medical laboratory and diagnostics and biomedical sciences.

“Emmeline has been exposed to a high quality level of competition and has proven to be a reliable and successful goalkeeper.  I am looking forward to seeing her compete for the starting position in goal and contributing to our team’s defensive organization and performance this fall.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I chose the University of Delaware because of the quality of education it offers, the good future career opportunities, the talented field hockey team and the ambitious coaching staff.  I love the energy and enthusiasm of the players, the athletic trainers and accompanying staff.” – Emmeline Oltmans

MARISSA SURDY | Forward | Mountain Top, Pa. (Crestwood HS)
Surdy completed her career at Crestwood High School with a total of 142 points on 59 goals and 24 assists as a four-year varsity member.  As a senior, she collected 59 points and tied for second in league scoring while ending the season with a 17-game scoring streak.  A three-time All-Conference and two-time Coaches All-Star honoree, Surdy guided the Comets to the Pennsylvania AA State Championship as a junior while finishing as a runner-up her senior season.  A scholar-athlete off of the field, Surdy is a member of the National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society and High Honors/Principal’s Honors while completing Advanced Placement classes.  The daughter of John and Sondra Surdy, Marissa plans on majoring in nursing.

“Another treat addition to the forward line will be Marissa, who comes from powerhouse Crestwood High School, which is led by legendary coach Elvetta Gemski.  Marissa is a player with great finishing skills close to the goal cage.  She is an extremely hard worker and player eager to learn and improve.  I am excited to see Marissa’s involvement in the field of play and set pieces this fall.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“I decided to attend Delaware because of how welcoming and competitive the field hockey program is and because of its beautiful campus.” – Marissa Surdy

ISABELLE VAN DER KAAIJ | Midfield/Backfield | The Hague, The Netherlands (Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet /Klein Zwitserland HC)
Another international player, Van der Kaaij (“van der kigh [like sigh]”) has played with the Hockey Club Klein Zwitserland since the age of six.  A team captain for the U17 squad, Van der Kaaij started every single game during her career while her teams have finished twice in fourth place in the National League.  Isabelle is the daughter of Marieke Wesselman and Jan Willem van der Kaaij and has a multitude of interests, but undecided on a major.

“Aside from being a strong player, Isabelle is also a person with leadership qualities.  Our program will be well suited with her joining us and with further development as a player and leader, has the ability to become an impact player for the Blue Hens.  I am also excited to have another Blue Hen field hockey student-athlete joining the University of Delaware Honors Program.  Isabelle will join the ranks as an extraordinary and well-rounded student-athlete.” – Rolf van de Kerkhof

“Although an ocean away from the country I grew up in, the University of Delaware made me feel right at home when I visited.  It has strong academics and a wonderful field hockey program.  I’m looking forward to joining the Blue Hens!” – Isabelle van der Kaaij