New Hampshire field hockey adds four recruits

DURHAM, N.H. -- Robin Balducci, 14th-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire field hockey program, announced Tuesday that an additional four student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the UNH field hockey program for the 2005 season.

Of the six signees, Brittany Jacobs (Frederick, Md.), Sophie Ostroski (Intervale, N.H.) and Meredith Stuart (Washington Depot, Conn.) are midfielders and Alex Ruggieri (North Caldwell, N.J.) is a goalkeeper.

"In terms of depth and skill level, this is the most talented class in my 13 years of recruiting here at UNH," Balducci said.

Jacobs, an Academic All-America selection in 2004, lettered in both field hockey and basketball at Frederick High School. Her field hockey honors as a senior included All-State First Team, All-Area First Team, All-Conference First Team, Frederick News Post Player of the Year and Washington Post All-Met First Team. Jacobs, who has played for the Capitol Pegasus, DC Metros and Frederick Freedom club teams, also has experience in the national Futures program and the Elite program. She was named the team MVP in both 2003 and 2004, and as a senior she recorded a team-high 10 assists as well as six goals.

Ostroski lettered in field hockey, softball and skiing at Kennett High School. She recorded six goals and 26 assists last year as a senior and finished with 15 goals and 45 assists in her four-year field hockey career. Ostroski, a Futures participant, was named to the All-State team in 2004. In addition to leading the Kennett field hockey team to the playoffs all four years, she was on the 2001 state champion softball team and the 2002 and 2003 ski championship teams.

Ruggieri was the No. 1-ranked goalie in New Jersey last season as she compiled a 22-1 record with a .920 save percentage and 17 shutouts to lead West Essex High School to a state sectional championship. Her 2004 accolades included All-State First Team, Essex County First Team, All-Iron Hills Conference First Team, All-North New Jersey and Star Ledger First Team. Ruggieri, who also lettered in lacrosse at West Essex, has competed in the Futures program and has also played with the New Heights club.

Stuart, whose older sister Mackenzie is a two-year letterwinner with the Wildcats' field hockey team, lettered in both field hockey and softball at Shepaug Valley High School. She has competed in the Futures program for three years and has also participated in the Junior Olympics. Stuart's honors include All-State First Team, Berkshire League First Team, Danbury All-Area Team and Hartford Courant All-Area Team in 2004, as well as Regional All-American and All-State Second Team in 2003.

These four student-athletes join Hannah Colestock, Kara Napolitano and Michelle Tavener in UNH's Class of 2009.

New Hampshire has advanced to the America East Championships each of the past three seasons and to the postseason in 12 of 14 years under coach Balducci.

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