NEWARK, Del. – University of Delaware field hockey head coach Rolf
van de Kerkhof announced Wednesday the signing of seven talented
high school recruits, who will compete for the Blue Hens this coming
"I'm excited to announce that a competitive, ambitious, and fun group of young women will be joining the University of Delaware's field hockey program this summer," remarked van de Kerkhof. "They have all proven to be successful and levelheaded individuals, competitive student-athletes, and all believe that being part of a team and contributing to the team's goals will provide great individual, group, and program development, and growth opportunities. We are very excited to welcome these young women and their families to our already passionate and energetic Blue Hen field hockey family."
Van de Kerkhof's seven incoming recruits include six locals haling from five different states and one international signee. Additionally, the team will add three midfielders/defenders, two forwards, one defender and one goalkeeper to the squad, which will lose three seniors to graduation this spring.
The UD class of 2017 includes defender Kayla Devlin (Annapolis HS/Annapolis, Md.), forward Erica DiPascale (Merion Mercy Academy/Delran, N.J.), midfielder/defender Taylor Meily (State College Area HS/State College, Pa.), goalkeeper Fran Orella (Hunterdon Central Regional School/Whitehouse Station, N.J.), midfielder/defender Esmee Peet (RSG Slingerbos/Zeewolde, Netherlands), forward Meghan Winesett (Westfield HS/Centreville, Va.), and midfielder/defender Maura Zarkowski (Villa Maria Academy/Trooper, Pa.).
Below are biographies on each of the seven incoming student-athletes in addition to comments from both van de Kerkhof and the student-athletes.
KAYLA DEVLIN | Defender | Annapolis, Md. (Annapolis HS)
A two-time All-County Capital Gazette and Coaches Poll honoree, Devlin joins the Blue Hens from Annapolis High School, where she was also a four-year varsity starter for the field hockey team. Devlin has played seven seasons with the SPark Travel Club and also competed in the USA Field Hockey National Futures Championship (2011; 2012). She helped lead her team to the National Indoor Championship in 2011 and Disney Showcase Under-16 Silver Flight Championship in 2010 in addition to winning a bronze medal in the Junior Olympics. Devlin also excels academically as she is a member of the National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society (Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica), and the International Baccalaureate Program. Additionally, she has been named all four years to the Principal's Honor Roll (straight A's) while earning Outstanding Scholar Athlete and Academic Achievement Awards.
"Kayla has a defensive skill set that provides her with great opportunities to become a solid member of our backfield. She is calm under pressure and smart playing defense, but also has the qualities to start the buildup out of the back. Since Kayla informed us about joining the Blue Hens, she has done an excellent job of adding our coaching feedback to improve her game while playing for the Spark Field Hockey Club in recent months." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"I had the chance to work with the coaching staff during Futures Elite and I would come to the athletics side of campus. When I decided to look at the academic part of campus, I fell in love with it all. I really liked the field hockey staff and what the school itself had to offer. When I visited and met some of the team, they were all really nice and I felt like I could see myself fitting in and being able to contribute to the Blue Hen field hockey success." – Kayla Devlin
ERICA DiPASCALE | Forward | Delran, N.J. (Merion Mercy Academy)
DiPascale comes to Delaware as a Pennsylvania All-State selection from Merion Mercy Academy where she played for head coach Dani De Leo. Additionally, DiPascale was named to the National Futures Championship and as a Catholic Academy League All-Star and All-Main Line selection. The New Jersey native played for the Mystx Field Hockey Club under Tina Reinprecht. Academically, DiPascale is an honors student at Merion Mercy and earned the Biotechnology Excellence Award.
"Erica is a great team player and extremely hard worker. Her work ethic and work rate will make other players around her work harder and therefore make our team stronger and more competitive. Erica will have a lot of development potential and with her approach and positive mindset, she will be in the position to further grow into the field hockey player she wants to become." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"The second I walked onto the University of Delaware campus, I knew it would be a dream come true to get the opportunity to attend, pursue my major, and play field hockey here. When I met the coaches and team, I immediately felt the connection within the Blue Hen field hockey family. This is where I had to be." – Erica DiPascale
TAYLOR MEILY | Midfielder/Defender | State College, Pa. (State College Area HS)
Meily brings a wealth of championship experience to the Blue Hens as she helped lead State College Area High School to the first round of the 2012 PIAA Class AAA State Championships after winning District IV and Western Regional titles this past fall. While with the Lions, Meily was named a first team Mid-Penn Conference Commonwealth Division All-Star and first team Tri-Valley League All-Star while being selected for the National Futures Championship. Additionally, she was the team captain and earned the 2012 Outstanding Player Award. As a member of the State College Blue Lions Field Hockey Club, Meily played in the Disney Field Hockey Showcase, National Hockey Festival, Regional Club Championships, and Keystone State Games. SCAHS head coach Karin Johnson and SCFHC head coach Stuart Smith were instrumental in Meily's development as a field hockey player.
"Taylor is a great team player and very eager to further develop her game. Her potential and qualities will allow her to strengthen our backfield and midfield lines moving forward. Taylor is a true competitor and will not settle for anything less than her very best and the team's best." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"The reason I chose the University of Delaware was because it was a place where I felt comfortable and it reminded me of my hometown. I wanted to go to a university that had many academic opportunities. The University itself is a well-respected institution and the opportunity to be a member of a great field hockey program was too good to pass up. I am excited to join such a talented team and a great coaching staff. I know that my future is very bright as a Blue Hen." – Taylor Meily
FRAN ORELLA | Goalkeeper | Whitehouse Station, N.J. (Hunterdon Central Regional School)
Orella comes to the Blue Hens as a legacy student as both of her parents are Delaware alumni and her brother is currently a junior at UD. As a senior at Hunterdon Central Regional School under head coach Jennifer Sponzo, Orella was selected to the Senior All-Star Game, All-State Group IV third team, All-West second team and all-conference second team in addition to earning the Team Most Valuable Defensive Player, Most Valuable Athlete, Student-Athlete Award, and Varsity Team Academic Achievement Award. During her junior season, Orella helped lead HCRHS to the New Jersey Group IV Section North II Sectional Championship. She played for the club team G-Force. Off of the field, Orella excels academically as she is a member of the National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society, Science Honors Society, and French Honors Society in addition to being named to the HCRHS Principal's Honor Roll for six semesters.
"Fran is a talented goalkeeper with great development potential to compete for the starting goalkeeping position in her future. She displays the qualities a goalkeeper must have in order to be a good performer in that position and provide organization and structure in the defensive 25. We are very pleased with Fran's goalkeeping development track since receiving her verbal commitment." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"I chose UD because I have been able to see the outstanding academics from a long family history with UD. The incredible field hockey program, team, and coaches all made me feel welcome. I look forward to being a Blue Hen student-athlete." – Fran Orella
ESMEE PEET | Midfielder/Defender | Zeewolde, The Netherlands (RSG Slingerbos)
A native of The Netherlands, Peet will be the fourth international player on the Delaware field hockey squad in fall 2013. Peet played the last two seasons for MHC Laren MA1, leading the team to second place finish in the National Shell League this past season. She also helped the team to titles at the Saturnus Indoor Tournament and Mercian Indoor Tournament in 2011-12 in addition to finishing third in the Dutch championship. While with Laren, Peet received quality coaching and great development opportunities.
"Esmee is another very versatile player that can play many positions as she displays a solid offensive and defensive skill set and is well developed tactically. She has always played up for her age and therefore has been fortunate to learn from strong players around her. This is something we hope is going to allow her to make other players around her better within our squad." – Rolf van de Kerkhof.
"I was looking for a university with an ambitious field hockey team and at the same time a good business school. UD gave me a good feeling and I'm very excited about this adventure. I see this as a great opportunity and it's fantastic to be a part of this field hockey program." – Esmee Peet
MEGHAN WINESETT | Forward | Centreville, Va. (Westfield HS)
Another signee with winning experience, Winesett helped lead Westfield High School to a 20-3 record as a senior. Under the guidance of head coach Starr Karl, the Bulldogs fell in the Virginia State quarterfinals to snap an 18-game winning streak. Following her senior campaign, Winesett was named the Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year. Winesett was also a two-time Virginia AAA first team All-State, two-time Northern Region Player of the Year, two-time Concorde District Player of the Year, third team All-American, and NFHCA South Regional All-American. Winesett also played for the Rampage club team.
"Meghan is a great team player, has strong offensive skills, and is comfortable scoring. She also displays the qualities of becoming a leader for this team as she further develops as a Blue Hen. Since her commitment to our squad, we have enjoyed seeing her develop at a rapid pace and are very excited about the opportunities we have with Meghan joining our team." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"I chose UD because it has the ideal combination of strong academics and exceptional athletics. The school was exactly the size I was looking for and the campus is beautiful. After meeting some players and the coaching staff, I really felt like this program was a perfect fit for me." – Meghan Winesett
MAURA ZARKOSKI | Midfielder/Defender | Trooper, Pa. (Villa Maria Academy)
A three-year starter at Villa Maria Academy, Zarkoski helped lead the Hurricanes to four PIAA District 1 Championships. VMA was also a PIAA State finalist in 2011 and 2012. As a senior, Zarkoski was named to the Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School All-Region second team, second team All-State, All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Inquirer first team, and All-Main Line first team. A distinguished student, Zarkoski earned a four-year academic scholarship to VMA and was a member of the National Honors Society, Mathematics Honor Society, and Latin Honors Society. Zarkoski was also named to the Distinguished Honor and First Honor Roll while being named to the Pennsylvania High School Field Hockey Coaches Association Academic All-State in 2012. She helped lead her club team, the WC Eagles, to a NIT Poll Championship, Festival Championship, and NCC second place finish.
"Maura is very versatile and can play many positions as she has great offensive and defensive skill sets in addition to a solid tactical understanding of the game. She has the qualities of developing into a go-to player for this team and displays the abilities to make players around her better. Since committing to Delaware, Maura has matured in all areas of her game and leadership, allowing us to believe that she is in the position to contribute to our program sooner rather than later." – Rolf van de Kerkhof
"I chose the University of Delaware because along with an excellent field hockey team, it has a first-rate nursing program, both of which are very important to me. Once I visited the campus, it immediately felt like home and was the best school for me." – Maura Zarkoski.