DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire field hockey team recently held its annual banquet to honor the athletic and academic achievements attained by its student-athletes in the 2005 season.
Sam Geary (Norwood, Mass.) was named the recipient of the Susan Kilmister Memorial Award, which is presented annually to an underclassman who most represents the essence of the person and athlete that Susan Kilmister was, and is an unsung heroine on the team. Geary worked hard to continuously improve her skills and become one of the team's strongest defenders, and she also grew into a leadership role both on and off the field. As a sophomore back, Geary started all 16 games in which she played and helped anchor the defensive unit. She also contributed two points, both on assists. Geary's other season honors included selection to the 2005 NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad.
Brittany Jacobs (Frederick, Md.) received the Joyce V. Hiller Scholarship, which is awarded in recognition of all that Joyce Hiller has given and done for UNH field hockey. Jacobs stepped in as a significant contributor from the first day of practice as she played like a mature veteran and was one of the team's top players as just a freshman.
Jacobs was UNH's top rookie scorer in 2005 with nine points on four goals and an assist, and the nine points is the most by a Wildcat freshman since White's 10 points in 2002. Her four goals, including one on a penalty stroke, ranked third on the squad and she was one of four 'Cats to record a defensive save. Jacobs, despite her status as a rookie, developed into one of UNH's top defensive players and often marked the opposition's top scorer. She joined Geary on the National Academic Squad and also received both America East Second Team and All-Rookie Team honors.
Kara Napolitano (Waltham, Mass.) was named the inaugural recipient of the Didio Award, which is bestowed upon a player who represents The Extra Mile Theory, which states "Some choose the shortest distance doing only what is required. Others give of themselves more freely and go the extra mile." Head coach Robin Balducci cited Napolitano as an athlete who has focused on the extra as an expected responsibility to the UNH field hockey program and a person who embodies the traits of the award's namesake, Marisa Didio. Napolitano, a freshman midfielder, played in all 19 Wildcat games and was in the staring lineup 16 times. She recorded two points, both on assists. Napolitano was also an America East All-Rookie Team selection.
Seniors Kaitlyn Skelley (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and Katie White (Glens Falls, N.Y.) were also recognized for their four-year contributions to the UNH field hockey program. They guided the Wildcats to three consecutive appearances in the America East tournament. White leaves the program ranked No. 3 on the career list in both goals (45) and points (95). Skelley began her Wildcat career as a back, then played at both midfield and forward in her last two seasons.