IOWA CITY, Iowa - -The University of Iowa field hockey program has signed six prep standouts. Alana Barry, Natalie Cafone, Anna Haley, Elizabeth Leh, Isabella Licciardello and Marisa Miro all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Iowa this fall and continue the excellent tradition of Iowa field hockey.
"What a great class of Hawkeyes," said head coach Tracey Griesbaum. "I am thrilled to have these six wonderful young women join our hockey family. They are wonderful people and their addition to the program will be felt immediately. They are passionate about hockey and competing.
"This class will be arriving on campus in August to start their journey. I believe they have the skills and attitude to positively impact this program immediately. I look forward to four amazing years of this class wearing the Black and Gold!"
The incoming class will join a group that reached the 21st NCAA Tournament in program history in 2011. Iowa finished with a 15-5 record and ranked 12th nationally.
Alana Barry Goalkeeper Voorhees, N.J. Eastern High School
About Barry: Barry, a goalkeeper from Voorhees, N.J., hails from Eastern High School, a field hockey powerhouse. She was teammates at Eastern with three current Hawkeyes, Geena Lesiak, Kelsey Mitchell and Corinne Allen. Barry helped lead Eastern to four state championships and a record of 104-5 (.954) during her high school career. Eastern captured its 13th-straight state title in 2011. Barry notched 75 career shutouts, which is the national high school record. The NFHCA Regional All-American also won three New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles. Barry was a four-time first team all-conference honoree and All-South Jersey Goalkeeper selection, a three-time National Futures Championship participant, a two-time first team all-state Group IV honoree, a two-time Field Hockey Club of South Jersey Goalkeeper of the Year selection, and a two-time junior Olympian. She was goalkeeper for the Jersey Intensity club team and has captured gold medal at the National Hockey Festival three times, as well as at the Disney Showcase and the National Indoor Tournament.
Coach Griesbaum on Barry: "Alana will be joining the Hawkeyes with a great sense of what it takes to be a champion. She has been a part of four state championships. Alana will be one of three goalkeepers in our program next year and she will have a tremendous opportunity to take her game to an even higher level. We are super excited to have her be a part of our Hawkeye family."
Why Iowa? "I chose Iowa because of the great tradition that comes with being a Hawkeye. The academics are second to none and my family and I feel that the education that I am going to receive will truly prepare me for my career and life. I was impressed by the fantastic facilities and the support that the community gives to the athletes. Lastly, I wanted to continue playing field hockey with three of my former teammates from Eastern High School."
Natalie Cafone Forward Fairfield, N.J. West Essex High School
About Cafone: Cafone, a forward from Fairfield, N.J., was named the New Jersey State Player of the Year in 2011. The West Essex High School standout was also named a first team NFHCA National All-American and an NFHCA Regional All-American in 2011. Cafone, a four-year varsity starter, owns the school's record for career points with 350 (135 goals and 80 assists). She was a four-time first team all-county and all-conference selection, a two-time team captain, and a two-time first team all-state selection. Cafone was named the 2010 Essex County Player of the Year. She was also a four-year varsity member of the women's basketball and lacrosse teams. One of Cafone's high school field hockey coaches was former Iowa All-American Diane Demiro Simmons.
Coach Griesbaum on Cafone: "Natalie is a phenomenal athlete. Her speed and competitiveness will be a tremendous addition to our offensive unit. We are looking to be more productive in our offensive half of the field next season and I truly believe Natalie will have a big role in this area of our game. She is highly competitive and will bring a phenomenal attitude to the field every day."
Why Iowa? "I chose Iowa because when I visited I felt it was exactly the type of school I wanted to go to. Iowa has both strong academics and athletics. I am really excited to be a part of the Big Ten Conference and the Iowa field hockey program."
Anna Haley Midfielder Annapolis, Md. Broadneck High School
About Haley: Haley, a midfielder from Annapolis, Md., hails from Broadneck High School. She is a two-time National Futures Championship participant, a two-time first team coach's all-county selection and a two-time first team Capital Gazette all-county honoree. The first team all-state selection and two-time team captain was a junior Olympic Bronze Medalist. A four-year varsity starter, Haley has garnered team MVP awards and the Broadneck High School Unsung Hero Award. She also played on the lacrosse team for four years.
Coach Griesbaum on Haley: "Anna has a tremendous amount of poise for a young hockey player. She sees the field well and displays great composure in pressure situations. Her ability to move the ball out of the backfield and midfield will be key to our success."
Why Iowa? "I chose Iowa because after my first visit I knew I was home. Iowa has prestigious and rigorous academics that will enable me to be a successful student-athlete. Iowa City offers a fun local life that surrounds a beautiful campus with an amazing Big Ten environment. To be a part of a top-rated field hockey program featuring the best of the best, including coaches, student-athletes, support staff and facilities, means the world to me. This program truly embodies what Iowa is all about family, tradition, pride, academics, leadership and the Black and Gold. I'm very excited and truly honored to have found and chosen a new family in the Hawkeye community."
Liz Leh Midfielder East Stroudsburg, Pa Stroudsburg High School
About Leh: Leh, a midfielder from Stroudsburg High School in East Stroudsburg, Pa., was named team MVP in 2010 and 2011. She led her high school to conference championships in 2008 and 2011. The two-time all-conference honoree was named to the Lehigh Valley All-Area team in 2011. She has been named Stroudsburg High School's Female Athlete of the Year and has won the Stroudsburg High School Player's Player Award. In 2011, Leh was her high school's homecoming queen and was named the Miss Pennsylvania Homecoming Queen. A four-year track letterwinner, she is also a National Honor Society member and the student government vice president.
Griesbaum on Leh: "Liz possesses good skill on both sides of the ball. Her aggressive defense along with a sound base of passing skills will allow her to compete at this level right away. She brings wonderful energy and a great attitude to all situations. Liz has steadily worked on her game over the past two years and we look forward to her taking the next step in her development as a Hawkeye."
Why Iowa? "I've visited every type of college and university, and Iowa was the place that felt like the perfect fit for me. Meeting the coaches and a couple players for the first time at a clinic at Wyoming Seminary was how the University of Iowa really caught my eye. It wasn't just the great skill they displayed, but the commitment and enthusiasm that they brought to the game. These were traits that made the biggest impression on me. Finally, in traveling to Iowa it became apparent that the University was the perfect package of great academics and athletics. In the end it was no competition and Iowa was where I wanted to go."
Isabella Licciardello Midfielder Fredericksburg, Va. Riverbend High School
About Licciardello: Licciardello, a midfielder from Fredericksburg, Va., is a six-time USA Futures Program participant, a five-year National Futures Championship participant and a three-time Futures Elite participant. She is a two-time gold medal winner at the National Festival, a Disney Showcase gold and bronze medal winner and a California Cup silver medal winner. Licciardello is also a two-time Silver Medal AAU Junior Olympian and was the 2009 recipient of the Joel Ferrell Memorial Award for all-around outstanding performance. She attended Fredericksburg Academy in the Virginia Independent School League where she was called up to the high school varsity team as a seventh grader. She started varsity in eighth grade and in ninth grade led her team to a perfect 19-0 record while leading the team with 35 goals and 16 assists. Licciardello garnered first team all-state, all-state tournament, all-regional and all-district honors. She finished her prep career at Riverbend High School, finishing her career with 75 goals and 67 assists.
Coach Griesbaum on Licciardello: "Bella is a dynamic player with and without the ball. Her ball control and passing ability stand out on the offensive side and her tenacity on defense will help her at the college level. She loves to play, compete, and train. Her enthusiasm and determination will allow her to be an asset immediately after she steps foot on campus. Bella will be a great addition to our midfield."
Why Iowa? "My most memorable field hockey experience was playing in my first Junior Olympics at the University of Iowa at the brand new Grant Field. Our team advanced to the finals and earned the silver medal. Then at the award ceremony I had the honor to receive the Joel Ferrell award from Tracey Griesbaum. By the time I left Iowa I knew I wanted to be a Hawkeye!"
Marisa Miro Midfielder Tamiment, Pa. East Stroudsburg High School
About Miro: Miro, a midfielder from Tamiment, Pa., was a three-year USA Futures Participant. The East Stroudsburg High School standout was a two-time Mountain Valley Conference All-Star and a two-time Pocono Record All-Area team selection. Miro, who holds the school records for single season and career assists, was team MVP in 2011. She was a two-time team captain for three different sports: field hockey, softball and swimming.
Coach Griesbaum on Miro: "Marisa is a tenacious and highly competitive athlete. Her aggressiveness stands out in every situation. We are looking forward to the versatility that she can bring to the team."
Why Iowa? "When I first got to campus on the junior day I knew I loved it. It's a perfect sized campus with a lot to do. The campus recreation building amazed me, and seeing how great all of the athletic facilities are made me want to be a part of it all. Knowing that the business program at Iowa is tremendous was a huge part of my decision as well because I want to learn and grow from a reputable program. Another thing that influenced my decision was how the coaches, Tracey Griesbaum and Lisa Cellucci, handle the team. Hearing nothing but good things from the team gave me a sense of relief. I love that the team is hardworking and competitive and that is just what I want. I fell in love with everything at Iowa and I couldn't be happier with my decision."