DURHAM, N.H.-University of New Hampshire field hockey head coach Robin Balducci announced that both Caitlin Gillen and MacKenzie Stuart of Shepaug Valley High School (Conn.) have signed a letter of intent to attend UNH and will play for the Wildcat field hockey program beginning in the Fall 2003 semester.
"Both players are very talented and I anticipate great things in the immediate future," said 12th-year head coach Balducci. "They are winners and will take that winning attitude here to UNH."
Gillen and Stuart helped guide the Shepaug Valley field hockey team to the state championship in 2002 and to a state runner-up finish in 2001, 2000 and 1999.
Stuart, who also letters in basketball and softball at Shepaug Valley, was a Regional All-America selection in 2002. She was named to the All-State team three consecutive years (2001, '02 and '03) and was also a Berkshire League All-Star in those seasons. Stuart's international experience includes the 2002 U.S. U-18 National Team that competed in Australia. She also was on the U-16 National Team in 2001 that toured Australia and Holland.
"We're looking for her to step right into the midfield," Balducci said. "We have huge shoes to fill with the graduation of Marcie Boyer and Lizzy Duffy, but MacKenzie has the speed and stick skills to make an immediate impact and lessen those losses.
"I also expect Caitlyn to step in and contribute right away," Balducci stated. "She's big, strong and very athletic. She will add power and punch to the forward line."
Gillen, who also letters in both swimming and outdoor track, was an All-State selection in 2002 and was named to the All-State Second Team in 2001. She received Berkshire League All-Star honors in 2002 and 2001, as well as Second Team in 2000. Gillen's other honors include being named MVP of the Senior All-State Game. She holds four school swimming records and was a 2001 state champion in the 800-meter run.
New Hampshire begins the 2003 season August 30 against Maryland at the University of Massachusetts. The Wildcats are scheduled to play their home opener Sept. 1 against Northwestern University. Both games begin at 1 p.m.