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Feb. 13, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia field hockey head coach Michele Madison announced eight high school seniors who have committed to Virginia and will join the team for the 2013 season.

The group includes one player from Connecticut, four from Pennsylvania, and three from Virginia, including Macy Peebles hailing from Yorktown and Jeannie Blackwood and Riley Tata coming from Virginia Beach. The class includes two All-Americans and two others who earned All-Region honors from the NFHCA, five All-State first team honorees and the 2012 Virginia State Player of the Year. The recruits include four forwards, three midfielders and a defender.

“We were on a mission to find necessary depth for the team to run Virginia’s high-powered attacking system more efficiently,” Madison said. “When I look at this group of athletes collectively, I see competitive determination, versatility and enthusiasm. There is a lot of hard work to do, but I am excited and can’t wait to see what these athletes will contribute to the future of Virginia field hockey.”

Jeannie Blackwood is a midfielder Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Va. who also played soccer and basketball. She was named first team All-State, first team All-Beach District and first team All-Eastern Region in 2012 after earning second team All-Beach District honors in 2011.

“Jeannie will develop into a solid contributor somewhere on the field, and I say somewhere as a compliment,” Madison said. “She has played every field position and is very self-motivated and self-driven. She’ll be attending the engineering school at UVa. I’m excited to see what she can bring to our system.”

Emily Faught is a defender from Newton Square, Pa. who played field hockey, basketball, lacrosse and was a sprinter at Academy of Notre Dame. She was named to the 2012 Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School All-Pennsylvania Region second team. She is a two-time first team All-Delco honoree (2011-12), three-time first team All-InterAc (2010-11), two-time first team All-Main Line (2011-12) and 2010 second team All-Main Line. From 2011-13, she played for the Junior US Women’s Indoor Team Field Hockey.

“Emily was born to play defense in our style of play,” Madison said. “Back-four players are becoming big playmakers when they have that self-start component. Emily is very smart when assessing risk and reward. Her distribution skills and her poised tackling are the strengths she will bring to Charlottesville.”

Caleigh Foust is a center forward from Bryn Mawr, Pa. and Harriton High School where she twice earned first team All-Central League honors and was a two-time MVP. She also played lacrosse at HHS, earning All-America honors in the sport last season.

“Caleigh is the epitome of tenacious center forward,” Madison said. “Her passion is scoring. She is feisty in the front and quick to tackle back immediately. I know she’ll hit the ground running because that is the kind of athlete she is.”

Twin sisters Katie Kelly and Megan Kelly, a pair who play forward/midfield from Phoenixville, Pa., both attend Archbishop Carroll High School. Katie was a two-time first team All-State selection (2011-12), 2012 first team All-Southeastern Pennsylvania, 2012 Academic All-State, three-time first team All-Catholic (2010-12), two-time first team All-Main Line and two-time first team All-Delaware County (2011-12). From 2011-13, she played in the Futures Elite, including competing in the 2012 Futures Elite Championship, and was a member of the 2011 Junior National Indoor Team.

Megan earned first team All-State honors this season after being named to the second team in 2011. She was All-Delaware County first team in 2012 and second team in 2011. She was also a two-time All-Catholic first team honoree and a 2010 second team All-Catholic selection. She competed from 2011-13 in the Futures Elite, including playing in the 2012 Futures Elite Championship, and 2011 AAU Junior Olympics.

Both Katie and Megan, along with Emily Faught, toured China in 2012, playing in the Chinese National Youth Hockey U19 Championships with their club team, the W.C. Eagles, finishing in second place.

“I’m glad that Katie and Megan are both coming and will play together,” Madison said. “They have a sense for each other on the field and can find each other with their eyes closed. They are as tactically smooth as it gets and will become critical glue players. I really had to watch them to appreciate their on-field contributions. They were always in position to do the simple things and they move effortlessly in transition. Katie is more of an attacking midfielder with an ability to put the ball in scoring position, while Megan’s first pass initiates the attack.”

Macy Peebles, from Yorktown, Va., won three state titles and had one second-place finish in her four years as a starting center mid at Tabb High School. Peebles, a 2012 Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School second team All-American, was also named the 2012 Virginia State Player of the Year and the 2012 Daily Press Player of the Year. She is a three-time first team All-State honoree (2010-12).

“Macy plays every second of every game of every situation. She is tireless,” Madison said. “I respect her work ethic. She is a team player. She is out there doing all the dirty work. That is why she earned Player of the Year for Virginia. I’m really excited to have her. Macy will become a great midfielder because she has up-field vision and can make the simple pass early as well as create shots for herself. We were too thin in some lines last year and now, for the first time, we can be very deep in the lines.”

Emilia Tapsall, a midfielder from Old Greenwich, Ct., helped lead her 2012 Greenwich Academy team to a New England Private School championship, winning All-Tournament honors and being named a 2012 Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School first-team All-American. She was a second team All-American during her junior season and a two-time NEPSAC finalist and NEPSAC All-Tournament team member in 2010-11.

“Emilia is extremely athletic and just keeps getting better and better,” Madison said. “She was brought up with hockey so she understands the game and the possibilities. She really understands the nuances of the game that most kids just haven’t developed yet.”

Riley Tata, a forward from Virginia Beach, Va, earned 2012 Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School All-South Region honors. She led Norfolk Academy to the state tournament three times, advancing to the finals in 2010 and 2011. She was the 2012 TCIS Player of the Year, a two-time first-team All-State selection and a two-time first-team All-Tidewater honoree. She is the career record holder at Norfolk Academy with 119 goals, 37 assists and 275 points. She also scored over 1,000 career points in her Norfolk Academy basketball career, earning second team All-TCIS honors in 2011, and was the leading scorer on the 2011 State Champion soccer team at Norfolk Academy.

“Riley is one big ball of speed and energy,” Madison said. “She has all the tools to play at this level. When her game catches up with her athleticism, she will be a force to reckoned with. She is a three-sport athlete and possesses the athleticism to flourish at this level.”

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