“This class is the result of an intense recruiting process and I am happy to announce the addition of five talented players to our roster,” said Puzo. “These five players understand the responsibility to become part of a great institution with more than 200 years of academic and athletic traditions. We believe that they will not only help to continue this tradition but also elevate it with their academic and athletic performance during the next four years.”
Makenna Colby (Downington, Pa./Downingtown West)
Colby was a four-year letter winner as a back for Downingtown West High School. She was named First-Team All-Area and First-Team All-Conference team in each of her last three seasons. She led her Downingtown West to a 20-4 record during her senior season, finishing with 11 goals and 12 assists. Colby played her club field hockey for the WC Eagles, helping lead the team to the National Club U19 Championship in 2013. She also helped them win the NIT Pool C U19 championship in 2012. Colby’s older sister Camerin will be a junior on Miami’s team in 2014.
“Makenna's passing skills and her commitment to defensive duties are her most outstanding quality,” commented Puzo. “Being used to playing as a central back for WC Eagles and Downingtown West HS, she is not a stranger when it comes to fighting for balls or hassling opponents to win possession back. Physically, Makenna is an imposing defender and the combination of her physical presence with her engine and ability to break up play and win the ball makes her a key defender. While she can play on the sidelines, Makenna is more comfortable playing alone in the center of the field, where she is able to control the game.”
Liz Morrow, Colby’s coach at Downingtown West, said, “Makenna has been a four-year varsity starter, two-year captain and catalyst for West in the back. She is a versatile athlete and amazing young lady with strong leadership skills both on and off the field. She has anchored the defense over the past four years, is a phenomenal tackler, playmaker and posses strong consistent drives. Over the years, Makenna has been a key contributor to our offensive and defensive battery, overtime team and go-to stroker. She is an amazing field hockey player and will be greatly missed at Downingtown West.”
“When I first stepped foot onto Miami's campus I immediately knew it could be a place I would want to spend my college years,” said Colby. “It was by far the most beautiful campus I had visited. I then met the coaches and the team, toured the facilities, met some of the professors and fell even more in love with the school. When it was time to make my final decision, I made a list of the pros and the cons of playing and studying at Miami, and it had no cons, only pros. This made me sure of my decision.”
"We are very proud of Makenna's decision to play field hockey and study at Miami," states mother Lisa Colby. "The fact that it was such an easy decision for her to make was a comfort to us as parents. We believe she is exactly where she is meant to be, and we know she will enjoy and flourish over the next four years."
Cooper Hudspeth (St. Louis, Mo./Villa Duchesne)
Hudspeth was a three-year letter winner as a forward and midfielder for Villa Duchesne High School. She was named to the 2013 Harrow NFHCA High School All-Region Team and earned All-Conference honors each of the past two years. During her senior year, Hudspeth finished with 27 goals and 35 assists, leading Villa to a second place finish in the state tournament. She was selected to the Futures Elite the past three seasons, and led her team to the gold medal National Futures Championships U19 Championships.
“Cooper is a cool, calm customer in front of goal,” stated Puzo. “She rarely panics when presented with an opportunity, either one she created on her own or was set up by her off-ball vision. Her positional play is exceptional for someone so young, and she was tested playing both for Villa Duchesne High School and for Gateway Field Hockey. Her strengths lie in her all around dynamic play up front and her ability to confront defenders in a variety of different ways. She is extremely calm and composed on the ball and always seems to make the right offensive decision. She's got the speed to play off the defender, the strength to hold up the ball and the skill to link up play or take on an opponent, ready to set up a teammate as she did throughout the season for state semifinalist Villa Duchesne.”
Villa Duchesne head coach Kate O’Connell said of Hudspeth, “Cooper has been the epitome of a student athlete at Villa Duchesne for the past four years. She has incredible athleticism that has allowed her to play three sports for four years at Villa including field hockey, swimming and lacrosse. I have had the opportunity to coach Cooper at Villa Duchesne as well as in the Gateway Field Hockey Club and I look forward to watching Cooper play at Miami. It is an elite university in regards to academics and athletics. Cooper's determination, drive and commitment will truly shine through at Miami.”
Hudspeth added, “I chose Miami because I wanted a school that would prepare me for the rest of my life and shape all aspects of myself through the school’s field hockey program, business school and overall experience. After seeing Miami I knew the school had all I wanted and more.”
“Cooper’s decision to play collegiate field hockey came early in her high school career,” described Susie Hudspeth, Cooper’s mother. “As a result of this decision, she continuously worked hard in her high school field hockey, her Gateway Field Hockey Club and USA Field Hockey program to earn the highest level of achievements to reach her goal of playing Division I Field Hockey. From the moment Cooper stepped foot on the Miami University campus she knew she wanted to attend the university. Once she met Coach Puzo and Assistant Coach Rogers and the Miami field hockey team she knew she had found a place to call home. Both academically and athletically Miami University meets every criteria Cooper places as important to her collegiate career. Miami University offers a demanding education and the nationally recognized Farmer School of Business. The Miami Field Hockey program is a demanding and supportive team and has a strength and dedication to working hard to strive to be the best. We are so excited for Cooper to call Miami home!”
Kiley Merrill (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson)
Merrill was a four-year letter winner as a midfielder and back for Hudson High School. She was named First Team All-State as a senior in 2013 after earning All-Conference honors in 2012. In 2013, Merrill was selected to participate both in the National Futures Championship, as well as the All-Ohio All-Star Game.
“Kiley is definitely a player who can lead a line and worry defenders with pace, as well as being able to play deeper or in wide channels, said Puzo. “As a forward for both Hudson High School and Field Hockey Life club, she demonstrated a burst of speed, which means she can beat an opponent and keep supporting the attack whenever the chance is there. Even though she is fast across the ground, she is one of those players who uses an initial burst of quickness to beat the defender, using her agility to work her way around the opponent. She helped Hudson advance in the state tournament in 2013, earning All-State honors.”
“I chose Miami University because it is a place I feel I will be able to grow in an extraordinary way as a student, athlete and person in general,” said Merrill. “I love everything about Miami's academics, field hockey program and campus, and know I will be able to reach my full potential here.”
“We are ecstatic for Kiley to have the opportunity to be part of such an outstanding field hockey program at such a prestigious university,” said her mother Molly Merrill. “We look forward to see her grow both athletically and academically over the next four years. We are so proud of all she has accomplished so far.”
I could not be more excited for Kiley to continue her athletic and achedemic career at Miami," said Keli Smith, coach of the Field Hockey Life club team. "She is a talented young woman that exemplifies hard work, love and honor and for this reason, I am sure she will make a wonderful RedHawk."
Megan Paul (Novi, Mich./Novi)
Paul was a four-year letter winner as a forward, midfielder, and back for Novi High School. She was named to the Michigan All-State team in each of the past two seasons, while also joining the Novi Hall of Fame at the conclusion of her high school career. Paul helped lead the Wildcats to state championships in 2011 and 2012, and a state semifinal appearance during her senior year in 2013.
“Megan's calm and composed nature in both attack and defense will increase even more the level of play on our roster,” said Puzo. “She plays a simple passing game, which is a trait of the Miami style of play. She is certainly one who likes to keep it simple and is happy to pay at slow tempo when possession is the key. It is perhaps Megan's maturity that is the reason she has played a big role in the success of her club, Pinnacle. Megan is a real leader both on and off the field, a characteristic of her time both at Novi and Pinnacle.”
Nancy Cox, Paul’s coach at Pinnacle, described Paul as “defensively strong over the ball with great hitting depth out of the backfield. She is athlete who truly loves the game of hockey and is committed to the process of improvement each and every day.”
Paul herself said, “I am excited to join the Miami field hockey program. The competitive field hockey schedule, coaches and overall program culture were keys to me deciding on Miami. I have attended many summer camps and play days at Miami already so being on campus already feels like home. The athletic facilities and changes they are making are great additions to the overall beautiful campus. The resources that Miami athletes receive are exponential and helpful for my future. Miami's quality of education is known respectively and is a blessing to be receiving. It is an honor to be a part of such a tremendous program and school that I love.”
David and Lynn Paul, Megan’s parents, added, “We are very happy for Megan to be joining the Miami field hockey program and attending Miami University. The coaches, school administrators and academic counselors were extremely helpful and enjoyable to work with throughout the process as Megan recognized what a great academic and athletic environment there is at Miami. We’re excited for Megan to be part of such a great university and building a rich field hockey tradition.”
Brianna Stahl (Blacklick, Ohio/The Columbus Academy)
Stahl was a three-year letterwinner as a back and midfielder for The Columbus Academy. She led the team to a state championship each of the past three seasons, scoring the game-winning goal during her senior year. Stahl was named to All-Conference team in both 2012 and 2013, and was also named to the All-region and All-Ohio teams after her senior season. She was also invited to play in the 2013 Senior All-Star Game in Dublin, Ohio.
“Brie is an aggressive player who likes to go in hard and is a real grinder who works tirelessly for her team,” commented Puzo. “It is fair to say that Brie can play both in a defensive as well as a midfield role. Defensively, her positional sense and anticipation is quite simply remarkable and her tackling is also one of the highlights of her game. However, it is her ability to pick a pass from deep which makes her a special talent. Playing for Field Hockey Life, she appears to be capable of offering more to the attack even from the defensive position she plays. Brie has all the traits of a modern day back in terms of being able to supplement attacks when the team has possession and defending when the team is without it, demonstrating her ability to score as she notched the game-winning goal in the state tournament final for Columbus Academy.
Columbus Academy head coach Anne Horton said, “Brie Stahl has been a pleasure to coach over the past four years at Columbus Academy. It has been a dream for her to play at the next level. When she told me she had committed to Miami, I was so super excited for her. The Miami field hockey program has established itself as one of the stronger programs in Ohio. The coaches, the staff and the players have demonstrated a true passion for success. Brie fits that trademark perfectly.”
“I chose Miami because there is no other place that is more understanding and feels more like home,” said Stahl. “I can't wait to make the most out of all the opportunities Miami has to offer.”
Stahl’s mother Jane stated, “When Brianna came to the Miami campus for the very first time and met the team she looked at me and said, ‘I'm going here.’ There was no question about it, her determination to go to Miami to be part of the field hockey family has been unwavering ever since, she has worked hard on her application, improving her academic status and doubling her efforts in perfecting her field hockey skills and convincing the naysayers that this is where she belonged and this University belongs to her.”
The RedHawks finished 12-10 in 2013, winning the MAC Tournament for the second straight season. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The 2014 field hockey season begins in August.