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 Montpelier Magazine


JMU field hockey's fab four seniors: No. 9 Carrie Phillips, No. 22 Ryan Shean, No. 23 Kiernan Raffo and No. 14 Elize van Ballegooie.

Field hockey's fab four

Seniors bust a move on the field and in the classroom

JMU's field hockey team, ranked in the Top 10 most of the season, capitalized on the leadership of four seniors who excel in the classroom and on the field. Scholar-athletes Elizabeth 'Elize' van Ballegooie, Carrie Phillips, Kiernan Raffo and Ryan Shean led the team to a 13-9 record and No. 12 national ranking after NCAA tournament play. Each senior has received CAA and Verizon Scholar-Athlete honors.

Opening the season ranked No. 5 by the STX/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Top 20 Poll, the team won its first five games and moved up to No. 4. Hovering between fourth and eighth through midseason, the team faced tough competition, as 13 of 21 opponents ranked or earned votes in NFHCA polls. The Dukes tied for third in the CAA and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The team has reached the NCAA tournament six of the last 10 years and, this year, lost a first-round heartbreaker to Duke University.

Having only seen JMU in brochure photos, van Ballegooie traveled all the way from Zwolle, the Netherlands, to join the team. 'I wasn't really sure what to expect,' says the right midfielder and defender. The trip across the Atlantic was worth it for JMU and van Ballegooie, who packs impressive honors, including 2001 CAA Defensive Player of the Year and 2002 NFHCA All-South Region Second Team honors. She was named to the 2001 All-South Region First Team, the All-CAA First Team, the All-State Sports Information Directors' Team and the ECAC Second Team All-Stars. She hits the books as hard as she hits the ball, earning 2001 and 2000 CFHCA National Academic Squad honors.

Ryan Shean from Medfield, Mass., plays midfielder and back. She earned 2002 CAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the NFHCA All-South Region First Team and All-CAA First Team. In 2001, she was named All-CAA Second Team player and CFHCA National Academic Squad member. She's also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. The co-captain says, 'In terms of friendship, this is the closest team I've played on at JMU. Our focus is playing for each other and maintaining unity.'

Forward and midfielder Carrie Phillips of Macungie, Pa., has a career total 44 points and 12 assists. Last season, she was All-CAA Second Team and second in assists for the JMU squad. She earned the Eddy Dalton Special Education Award for the outstanding student in the JMU School of Education. She says that 'as seniors, leadership is important to success. We take pride in treating every individual on this team with equal respect and friendship.'

Red-shirt senior Kiernan Raffo of Virginia Beach is co-captain and goalie. She earned 2001 All-CAA Second Team and All-Tournament Team honors. Kiernan's career totals include an impressive 80 saves, a .650 saves percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average.

Field hockey coach Irene Horvat was named to the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Field Hockey Team. Her three-year record at JMU is 37-27 (.578). The former two-time All-American goalkeeper was a 1994 All-ACC player at the University of Maryland and a 1992 and 1994 ACC All-Tournament honoree.

'Our seniors are representative of what it truly means to be a student-athlete,' says Horvat. 'Each is a member of the same successful program sharing similar athletic goals, yet they are each unique in personality and approach to life, athletics and academics.'


' Janelle DiOrio ('03)