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Women’s tennis, crew, and field hockey announce 2 recruiting classes

Newcomers sign letters of intent to join successful BU teams

Women's crew coach Holly Hatton: her recruiting class of 20 is the team's largest ever.

The 2005-2006 school year proved to be the most outstanding in BU women’s athletics history, with seven team championships in the America East Conference and a fourth place showing for women’s crew in the Eastern Sprints, which was the rowers’ best performance in 13 years. Poised to build on their achievements, three squads — tennis, crew, and field hockey — recently announced the successful recruitment of 29 athletes.

Women’s Tennis
Last season BU won its 13th straight America East title and made its eighth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, bowing to number seven Miami in the first round. The Terriers saw three seniors graduate, but coach Lesley Sheehan is confident that incoming freshmen Elizabeth Carrao and Rebecca Row can help them beat both America East competition and ranked opponents outside the conference — and then take their post-season play to the next level.

Row, from Austin, TX, has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in Texas and in the top 20 nationally in doubles in the 18-year-old bracket. She was recruited by Yale, George Washington, Dartmouth, and Texas Christian, “but, fortunately, we got her,” says Sheehan (SED’84).

Corrao, a native of Holden, MA, “is one of the top two high school players in New England,” says Sheehan. “She’s a great doubles player, has good hands, and is quick on her feet.” Carrao’s favorite professional tennis player is Andy Roddick because of his intensity on the court, and Sheehan can see the same kind of competitiveness in the five-foot-two-inch graduate of Notre Dame Academy in Hingham. “Win or lose, she fights to the end,” says Sheehan. “I saw that quality in her and I liked it a lot. She has strength, agility, and quickness, and a solid all-around game.”

Women’s Crew
The Class of 2010 for women’s crew consists of 20 students: the most ever. The five who received scholarships are Sally Machin of Ottawa, Ont., Alaina Krumbach of El Segundo, CA, Meredith Walsh of Richboro, PA, Ursula Opalka, of Seattle, WA, and Taryn Goba of Ancaster, Ont. Machin “races in a lot of small boats, which requires a lot more skill, so she’s technically proficient,” says women’s crew coach Holly Hatton. “Sally and Alaina will help us in either the stern or the bow, where we want the technicians because they will have an enormous amount of influence on the balance of the boat.” Walsh and Opalka, known for their size and strength, “will add horsepower in the middle of the boat,” she says. “Ursula is a positive, upbeat kid. She has a lot to offer.”

Goba, a coxswain, won the gold medal in the 115-pound four-person boat last year at the Canadian Henley Regatta. Her cousin, Taylor York (CAS’05), coxed BU’s varsity eight for four years. Last year’s coxswain, Cydney Nakama (ENG’06) graduated, but it’s unusual for a freshman to take over the position. Then again, that’s exactly what York did in her first year. Hatton says that it remains to be seen how quickly Goba will develop. “We already have two experienced coxswains, so right now we have three good coxswains, which is a good position to be in.”

Field Hockey
The field hockey Terriers, who won the America East tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000, aren’t rebuilding — they’re reloading. The team lost only two seniors to graduation, co-captains Caitlyn Cassara (SHA’06) and Colleen McClay (CFA’06), and Coach Sally Starr has recruited seven freshmen.

Tapped to fill the void are four players from New England, once each from Texas and California, and the program’s first European athlete since 1993: Suus Decker, from Rotterdam, Holland, who won the Dutch national indoor title with the Hockey Club Hoekschewaard.

Two of the New Englanders are from Maine: Ciara Corbett, from Belgrade, and Maryette Stuart. Corbett has participated in the National Hockey Festival in each of the past three seasons, and Stuart, a former high school teammate of current BU back Hayly Ross (CGS’07), “is a tremendous athlete with a lot of potential,” says Starr.

Allie Dolce, from Jamestown, RI, is a three-time all-state selection. Steph Prost, from San Antonio TX, is one of the top scorers in her native state. Karlie Sandoval is a three-time team MVP at Gilroy High School  in California. Amanda Smith became a goalkeeper just two years ago, but the Avon, CT native developed into an all-state player.

“Our staff has made it a priority to recruit players who compliment our preceding classes and will push our current players to get even better,” says Starr. “This group certainly does that and these newcomers will definitely help our program get closer to our goal of having a team that is truly positioned to compete for a national championship.”