DURHAM, N.H. – Robin Balducci, 17th-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire field hockey team, has announced that seven student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UNH in Fall 2008 and join the Wildcats’ program.

“Since I have been here, this is the deepest, most talented group as a whole and I am very pleased,” Balducci said. “We addressed filling our positional needs, particularly in goal, by signing two national-caliber goalies. There is great scoring power in this class as well as talented backfield players. This is the most balanced and high quality class that I can remember bringing in.”

Holly Cuff (Washington, N.J.), a 5-foot-4 back, was a four-year letterwinner at Warren Hills Regional High School who participated in the Futures program in both 2005 and 2006. She earned North Jersey Field Hockey Coaches Association (NJFHCA) First Team Defense in 2006 and 2007 as well as Second Team honors in 2005. Cuff also received Hunterdon/Warren All-County and Skyland Conference first team accolades as a junior and senior. Her other first team honors included The Star Ledger All-State Group 3, The Star Ledger All-West Jersey and Express Times. In 2007, Cuff led WHRHS to the sectional final with 11 goals, seven assists and five defensive saves. She leaves as the school record holder for defensive saves in a game (six), season (16) and career (29). Cuff also played on The Edge Field Hockey Club and was a four-year letterwinner on the swim team.

Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.), a 5-6 back, lettered in both field hockey and lacrosse at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. She competed at the Futures National in 2005 and 2007 as well as the National Indoor Tournament in ’07 and ‘08. Deck was a 2007 Academic All-America Team selection whose other accolades last year included All-State Second Team, NJFHCA All-Star, NJFHCA Group 4 First Team, Somerset County First Team and Skyland Conference First Team. She also received conference, county and Group 4 honors as a junior. Deck led Bridgewater-Raritan to a Group 4 state runner-up finish from 2005-07 and the team won the conference title all four years.

Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.), a 5-4 forward, is a three-sport athlete at Kimball Union Academy who letters in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. She competed at the National Futures Tournament in 2006 and 2007 and has garnerned All-America Second Team honors. Frates captained the team in ’07 and ’08 and was named
MVP both seasons. She broke the school’s single-season point record with 31 goals and 25 assists as a senior and also became the program’s all-time points leader with 73 goals and 40 assists. Frates also received NEPSWA All-Star recognition as a junior and senior. In addition, she earned Northern New England All-Star accolades in lacrosse.

Jenna Lehman (Kingston, Pa.), a 5-7 goalkeeper who lettered in field hockey and swimming at Wyoming Valley West High School, participated in the Futures program from 2003-06, the National Indoor Tournament in ’04 and ’05 and the National Hockey Festival from 2005-07. She earned a goal medal at the 2006 indoor tournament and silver medals at the ’07 Keystone State Summer Games and Pennsylvania District II AAA in ’04, ’05 and ‘07. As a senior in 2007, Lehman recorded a .859 save percentage to earn All-State Second Team honors. She helped the swim team capture the conference and District II AAA championships in 2005 and 2006.

Katherine Nagengast
(Westborough, Mass.), a 5-11 goalkeeper who lettered in field hockey, swimming and lacrosse at Westborough High School, competed at the Futures National program from 2003-07 as well as the USFH Under-16 National Tournament in ’05 and ’06. She was named a Midwach B All-Star and to the Worcester Telegram Super Team in ’06 and ’07. As a senior captain, Nagengast surrendered just six goals in 20 games for a 0.30 goals-against-average to lead WHS to the Midwach B championship. She also played on the Cape Ann Coalition club team.

Hayley Rausch
(Severna Park, Md.) is a 5-7 forward who lettered in field hockey and lacrosse at Severna Park High School, and she will continue be a two-sport student-athlete at UNH. Rausch ranked among the top 20 in the nation in scoring with 34 goals as a sophomore, when she received All-County, All-Met and Player of the Year honors. Last year, Rausch tallied 22 goals and 10 assists to earn All-County Second Team and All-Met Honorable Mention honors. She led her team to the state championship in consecutive years from 2005-07 and to a runner-up finish in 2004. Rausch also played on the Spark Indoor club team.

Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Clare, Ireland) is a member of Ireland’s Under-18 National Team and competed last summer at the U-18 European Championship in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is currently attending the Crescent College Comprehensive school. Smyth’s commitment marks the second consecutive year that the Wildcats have reached across the Atlantic Ocean to sign a European recruit; Johanna Stemmler (Leimen, Germany) was a freshman who started 20 games for the 2007 Wildcats.
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