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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Illinois connection gives an edge

Looking down the field hockey roster, one might notice something missing from the lineup. There is not a single player on the team from the state of Indiana. \nThe field hockey team is one of only two varsity sports teams that do not have a homegrown competitor on the squad. But it does boast eight players from neighboring Illinois on its roster of 22.\nSeveral players noted this fact and said they believed it was because the team turned into a varsity sport from a club sport last year that many of the players were from Illinois.\n"I think part of it is because a lot of the players on the club team were from Illinois," junior Molly Pulkrabek said. "It's also easy for coach to recruit out of Illinois since it is close."\nHead coach Amy Robertson also noted the proximity to IU as a contributor to the high number of players from Illinois. Another factor is that the University of Illinois does not offer field hockey as a varsity sport.\n"I think a lot of players would like to go to a Big Ten school," Robertson said. "And IU is one of the closest Big Ten schools (with a field hockey team). A lot of Illinois kids, not just field hockey players, are drawn to IU because it is fairly close to home, but it is out-of-state and offers something different."\nAmong the eight Illinois bred athletes are Pulkrabek of Barrington, senior Brooke Magers of Northfield and juniors Erica Nilsson of Lake Forest and Anna Ward of Homewood. Freshmen Kimberly Nash from Lake Bluff, Lindsey Nealis from Oak Park, Caroline Hermes from Lake Forest and Margaret Dunne from Oak Park round out the eight.\nNealis gives Robertson credit for recruiting Illinois hard and attracting players who were also teammates in high school.\n"A lot of us came from the same high school and she was able to see us work together," Nealis said.\nNealis also noted that the connection allowed Illinois players to get to know each other before they came to IU.\n"We all hung out together over the summer, especially us four freshmen from the Chicago area and got to know everything about each other," Nealis said.\nRobertson said prior to coming to IU she never really recruited in Illinois. Nonetheless, she quickly targeted the state for its field hockey talent and said she believes she uncovered a hidden gem, even though the state only contains 14 field hockey teams.\n"Last year, I really discovered that Illinois has a ton of players with untapped potential," she said. "They seem to kick out great players with a lot of athletic ability, but it is not nearly as exposed as some other regions of the country."\nRobertson said she hopes to continue the tradition of Illinois players on the squad, but understands that it may not be easy.\n"For the 2002 recruiting season we are very heavily involved with the top two or three players in Illinois. Northwestern and Michigan have started recruiting the area hard as well, but it would be much harder competition if Illinois had a program"

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