Ten area players to vie for national team selections

Ten area field hockey players will be vying for spots on various national teams as the selections for the 2014 USA Field Hockey Women’s National Championship, the Under 21 Championship and the Futures Elite U-19 tournament were revealed earlier this month.

The Women’s National Championship, slated for June 16-21 at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, is an annual tournament that features top collegiate players, current U.S. national team members and members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s field hockey team. The championship serves as the selection trials for the U.S. women’s national squad.

UConn’s Marie Elena Bolles and sister Olivia Bolles (Villa Maria/Phoenixville), Duke’s Alyssa Chillano (Spring-Ford), Princeton’s Kate Ferrara (Hill School), Maryland’s Ali McEvoy (Boyertown) and Duke’s Heather Morris (Owen J. Roberts) were selected to participate in the Women’s National Championship while Upper Perkiomen graduate and UConn commit Casey Umstead was selected to the U-21 group. Methacton’s Sammi Steele, Brittany Dickinson and Spring-Ford graduate Gabby Major were selected to compete in the Futures Elite U-19 tournament that is slated to run June 22-25.

“I made the tournament, it’s pretty amazing,’ Chillano said. “It was nice to see that I made the tournament after my injury last season.

“Being picked along with some of my future Duke teammates and being able to play in these tournaments is just going to help my preparation for this season even more.’

Chillano, a member of the U-21 team who will play at Duke this fall, missed her senior year due to a torn ACL suffered in Spring-Ford’s second game. She was a three-time Mercury All-Area first team selection who helped lead the Rams to the PIAA playoffs her sophomore season after registering 26 goals and 15 assists. Chillano will reunite with U-21 teammates in Morris and McEvoy. Playing alongside Morris and McEvoy, Chillano scored three goals as her squad finished third at the Junior Pan-American Championships in October 2012, qualifying for the Junior World Cup.

McEvoy, who was named to the women’s national team last season, was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Maryland, and was also named to the NFHCA All-America First Team, All-ACC First Team and the NFHCA All-Mid Atlantic Region First Team.

Morris, an NHFCA All-Academic selection, saw the field in all 24 games as a rookie with the Blue Devils, earning three starts during NCAA tournament play. She posted eight goals for 16 points to rank third on the team and collected a hat trick in only her second collegiate game, scoring three goals against Drexel (Sept. 1).

Marie Elena Bolles was the first Husky to be named Division I National Player of the Year as she helped lead her team to a national championship. Marie Elena started in all 25 games for the Huskies, tallying 17 goals, including three game-winners, and 14 assists for a 48 point season. Her sister, Olivia, saw action in 25 games, earning 23 starts in her freshman year at UConn. Olivia was a crucial member of the UConn defense that held opponents to just 29 total goals.

Ferrara started in 10 of her 13 appearances in her sophomore season at Princeton. At her time at the Hill, Ferrara led the team to two Mid-Atlantic Prep League titles (2008, 2009) while earning All-Area first team honors in 2011.

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The Under 21 Championship will feature 72 of the top athletes in the country vying for spots at the 2014 Junior National Camp. Athletes selected to participate in the camp will be in contention for selection to one of the 2014-2015 Junior National Teams.

Umstead was the area’s only selection to the U-21 Championship. The UConn commit left Upper Perkiomen as the team’s most prolific scorer. She registered 51 goals as a senior, including a two-goal game in the team’s PAC-10 championship victory over Owen J. Roberts — its first league title since 2006 — and the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Merion Mercy in the District 1-AA final, the Tribe’s first district crown since ‘ 06. Umstead finished with 128 goals in her career and was named Mercury All-Area Player of the Year in 2013.

“I was shocked that I made it,’ Umstead said. ‘I’m extremely happy about it.

“It gives me confidence knowing that I got selected and that my future teammates were also selected. It’ll help me realize that I can fit into the team atmosphere at UConn.’

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Major, who will play at North Carolina, will play in the Futures U-19 Tournament along with Steele. In the absence of Chillano, Major led Spring-Ford with 25 goals and 12 assists, including a three-game stretch from Sept. 28-Oct. 2 where she registered 10 goals in wins over Upper Dublin (three goals), Perkiomen Valley (three goals) and Boyertown (four goals). That stretch of torrid play earned her a spot on the PAC-10 Liberty Division first team as well as the Mercury All-Area first team.

Steele, a senior netminder, helped Methacton clinch the No. 2 seed in the Liberty Division due in large part to her stopping 87-percent of shots faced, saving 200 of 229 shots. In her junior season, Steele posted two games with 20 or more saves and registered seven shutouts, including three straight against Spring-Ford, Boyertown and Pottstown the week of Sept. 11.

Dickinson, a U17 member and senior midfielder for Methacton, registered seven assists and was selected as an All-Area First Team member in her junior season. Dickinson has verbally committed to play at Wake Forest.

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