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April 27, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Former Virginia field hockey player Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) has been named to the roster of the U.S. Women’s National Team, in a move announced today by USA Field Hockey.

Vittese was promoted from the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad. To account for the transitional phase from the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team to the senior USWNT, the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad’s purpose is to nurture the talent of college students. These particular athletes are no longer permitted to be on the U-21 USWNT due to age restrictions but show great promise in field hockey. After much evaluation at the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team trial in mid-January, USWNT Head Coach Janneke Schopman and her staff announced 16-athletes to the Development Squad, two of which were VIttese and former Louisville player Erin McCrudden.

A 2014 University of Virginia alum, Vittese joins the USWNT as a solid force in the backfield. From 2009-2010, she was part of Olympic Development Squad and was also a member of the Mid-Atlantic/South Team that won the 2013 Women’s National Championship in Norfolk, Va. Vittese notes, it took a ton of determination, discipline and hard work to reach this level of play. She tried out for the national team three years ago, and unfortunately did not end up making the team. Vittese had so much passion and love for the sport and in turn, couldn’t quit. Her persistence and resilience really pushed her to try and be better everyday since 2014. In 2015, Vittese extended her hockey career from another angle as the graduate assistant for Temple University’s Field Hockey Program. A USA Field Hockey Futures Program athlete in her younger years, the sport has been a childhood passion she has shared with her two sisters. Vittese joins sibling Michelle Vittese, also a former Cavalier, as a USWNT athlete. Her youngest sister, Virginia junior midfielder Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) is also part of the Olympic pipeline as a member of the U.S. Women’s U-21 team.

“Michelle always has some words of wisdom for any endeavor I pursue,” said Vittese. “She is a great big sister, and has always had my back. My whole life she has been telling me to ‘never give up’ and ‘you can do anything you put your mind to,’ and that has always stuck with me. She continues to instill a great amount of confidence in me, and has never stopped believing in my ability which has been so helpful. She has supported me through so much of my life, and I am so grateful. Sisters are the best.”

“Carissa has been part of the High Performance environment for a long time and to her credit she didn’t give up on her dream,” commented Schopman. “I always knew she was a good enough player, but this year she was more consistent in her performance and showed more understanding of what is needed and expected at this level. With her speed and skills I’m excited to see what she can bring to the team.” Vittese also thanked Schopman for giving her a chance and giving her the opportunity to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play for the U.S. and to represent my country,” said Vittese. “I feel so honored to be named to the team, and I can’t wait to play alongside some of the best players in the country!”

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