RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University Head Coach Kelly McQuade announced the signing of five student-athletes to the Rams' 2011 recruiting class.
"This is arguably one of the strongest recruiting classes VCU has ever seen," said McQuade. "We are so excited to bring in these young women to help us challenge the field hockey world."
A 2010 NFHCA Regional All-America selection, Combs recently guided her Lakeland High School team to a perfect 24-0 record and the school's first VHSL AAA State Field Hockey title. According to topofthecircle.com, Combs currently ranks fifth in the country in career goals scored (109).
McQuade on the 2011 recruiting class: "These five newcomers, in combination with our returning players, will provide the necessary talent to continue to fight for dominance in the CAA. The fact that we are recruiting athletes that come from winning programs is paramount. Three of our incoming student-athletes went undefeated during their senior campaigns. We are acquiring athletes that know what it takes to win and are motivated to continue their success."
Betkowski joins Lakeland High School teammate Combs in the Rams' 2011 incoming class. A three-year starter in goal for the Cavaliers, Betkowski posted 19 shutouts this season to run her career total to 46. Both marks ranked second nationally, according to topofthecircle.com. In 2010, Lakeland outscored its opponents 136-4. A member of Don Warner and Scotty Tyson's Saints & Hockey Rocks club program, Betkowski helped her team win her pool at the National Field Hockey Festival in 2009 and 2010.
Betkowski on becoming a Ram: "I initially wanted to attend VCU because of the Graphic Design program they had to offer and the location. After visiting, not only did I love the campus and city life, everyone I met made me feel at home. I am looking forward to being both a student and an athlete at VCU."
Michael and Dian Betkowski on joining the Ram Family: "Since the day Marissa began looking at colleges, VCU has always been at the top of her list. Prior to visiting, she was drawn to VCU based on their academic standings in areas of study that interest her, the location of the school, and their field hockey program. After touring the campus, attending several field hockey camps, and meeting with coaches, field hockey players, students, and school personnel, there was no doubt that this was the school she wanted to attend! Go Rams!"
Combs, arguably the state of Virginia's most electric and versatile player, led her team to district, region and state championship titles during her senior campaign. She capped her high school career with a hat trick in a 3-0 victory over Mountain View High School. Combs racked up 44 goals and 29 assists in 2010. A four-time National Futures Championship selection, Combs competed in the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 2009. She is also a member of the Saints & Hockey Rocks club program, Combs received gold medals in 2008, 2009, and 2010 at the National Field Hockey Festival and won her pool in 2009 and 2010 at the National Indoor Tournament. In 2010, she received First Team All-District, Region and State selections. Recently, the Norfolk Sports Club named Combs an Outstanding Metro Scholastic Field Hockey Player.
Combs on becoming a Ram: "God has steered me on the path to VCU, which has the ingredients of academics and athletics that will create the perfect recipe. The coaches are amazing and I am super stoked to step on campus and officially become a part of this history-making RAM family."
Wally and Wendy Allison on joining the Ram Family: "We are extremely pleased Kendell chose VCU, not only for the academic and field hockey programs, but for the incredible mentoring we know she will receive from Kelly and Shannon."
Farr, the class of 2011's only international member, joins the Rams after a successful high school career at Carson Graham Secondary School. Following a perfect senior season, Farr also helped lift her team to Bridgman Cup, UBC Tournament and North Shore Banner Championships. A member of the Adanacs club program, Farr captured her pool championship at the 2009 United States Field Hockey Festival, placed second at the Northwest Regional and collected a U17 Club Championship.
Farr on becoming a Ram: "I am incredibly excited to become a Ram! The team's chemistry and playmaking is amazing, and the coaches are extraordinary! I can't wait to be a part of the team and start school at the beautiful VCU campus!"
Gordon and Kathleen Farr on joining the Ram Family: "The VCU program encompasses all that is good in sports. We are thrilled that Stacey will be joining the Ram field hockey family!"
Jones is a dynamic midfielder and forward who was a four-year starter for Rudy van Oekel's Salem High School team in Virginia Beach. She led her team in goals, assists and points during her junior and senior seasons and was named First Team All-Beach District for her efforts. A team captain as a senior, Jones tallied 31 points, scoring 11 goals and nine assists. A three-time National Futures Championship pick and AAU Junior Olympics selection – including medalist honors in 2008 and 2009 - Jones also attended United States Field Hockey's FDIC invitation-only camp.
Jones on becoming a Ram: "I am truly excited about being a part of the Ram family and working with such a great coaching staff. Not many athletes can have a great relationship with their team, as well as their coaches. That's exactly the selling point VCU has, it is a great program that will make me a better player and I look forward to making a contribution to my team."
Carter and Sheryl Jones on joining the Ram family: "We are truly excited about the opportunity for Amber to continue to grow as a student-athlete at VCU while pursuing her dreams and goals. VCU is a great program and the perfect school choice for her."
Yang joins VCU after a successful career at AA powerhouse Grafton High School in Yorktown, Va. She was a driving force behind Grafton's 2010 district championship and helped guide the Clippers to a third place finish in the region and a state quarter final appearance. A 2009 First Team All-District, Region and State honoree, Yang served as her team's co-captain during her senior season. A National Futures Championship selection in 2009 and 2010, Yang also participated in the 2009 AAU Junior Olympics.
Yang on becoming a Ram: "I am so thrilled to finally become a part of the RAM-FAM. From the moment I met the coaches and the team, I knew VCU Field Hockey was a program with a vision that I had to be a part of."
Robert and Janet Yang on joining the Ram family: "We are so excited that Kacie has decided to become a Ram. The coaches and her teammates have made her feel so welcome. We know she will enjoy her time at VCU!"
Marissa Betkowski – Goalkeeper – Lakeland High School (Suffolk, Va.)
- Full name: Marissa Renee Betkowski
- Daughter of Michael and Dian Betkowski
- Coached by 2010 NFHCA South Region Coach of the Year Tara Worley
- Helped Lakeland to a perfect 24-0 record in 2010
- US Field Hockey Futures participant, 2007-2011
- Also played softball, soccer and ran cross country in high school
- Major: Undecided
Kendell Combs – Back/Midfield/Forward – Lakeland High School (Suffolk, Va.)
- Full name: Kendell Dawn Combs
- Daughter of Wally and Wendy Allison
- Played for same high school team as fellow incoming freshmen, Marissa Betkowski. Coached by Tara Worley
- Hampton Roads Pilot First Team All-Tidewater
- First Team All-District, Region, State selection in 2010
- 2010 NFCHA Regional All-American
- Member of Saints & Hockey Rocks club team
- Also played soccer, softball and ran cross country in high school
- Field of study: Biology
Coach McQuade on Combs: "Kendell is a spark-plug personified. Anyone who watches her skillful, dynamic play will instantly become a field hockey fan. Her ability to play anywhere on the field and her tenacity and fierce competitive spirit should find Kendell seeing some playing time early on in her career."
Stacey Farr – Midfield – Carson Graham Secondary School (North Vancouver, Canada)
- Full name: Stacey Michelle Farr
- Daughter of Gordon and Kathleen Farr
- Coached by Shiv Jagady
- Guided her team to a perfect 25-0 record in her senior campaign
- 2010 North Shore All-Star Team selection
- Member of the Meralomas and Adanacs club teams
- Also a standout in track and field in high school, winning provincial titles in 2009
- Field of study: Mass Communications
Amber Jones – Midfield/Forward – Salem High School (Virginia Beach, Va.)
- Full name: Amber Danielle Jones
- Daughter of Carter and Sheryl Jones
- Coached by Rudy van Oekel
- 2009 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist
- 2009 News Channel 3 Player of the Week
- 2009 AAU Junior Olympics Medalist
- Also played basketball and ran track and field in high school
- Field of study: Exercise Science, with a concentration in Physical Therapy
Kacie Yang – Midfield/Forward – Grafton High School (Yorktown, Va.)
- Full name: Kacie Elizabeth Soohy Yang
- Daughter of Robert and Janet Yang
- Coached by Brooke Feiner and Don Samuels
- 2010 Futures Elite Selection
- Guided her team to a 2010 District Championship
- Also ran track in high school, winning 2008 indoor and outdoor 800-meter relay district championships
- Field of Study: Pre-Veterinarian
Coach McQuade on Yang: "Kacie is a very smart player. Her consistency level mixed with her intelligence on the field makes her a very well-rounded player. Kacie's height gives her the significant advantage of a long reach and will find her a home on the midfield/forward line."