By: Cass Jordan
SAN DIEGO – Several RUSH Field Hockey seniors continue a program tradition—committed and ready to embark on their first season of collegiate field hockey. In the last four years, RUSH Field Hockey has sent 39 players off to their respective college programs.
This year’s class of nine will join a NCAA Championship team, play alongside accomplished RUSH alums, represent every position on the field and in multiple conferences across the country.
Headed all the way to New York, RUSH Field Hockey’s Audrey Matthew will play for the 2015 NCAA D I National Championship Orange. Last season, Syracuse made another deep run in the ACC and NCAA tournament advancing to the quarterfinals and Elite Eight.
Back in 2015 and unbeknownst to RUSH alum Niki Neidhart at the time, she began her rookie year at SU and eventual route to a national title.
Also set to compete in the ACC is RUSH midfielder, Meghan Schneider. A current USA Under-19 team member, Schneider joins the University of Louisville—a team with a track record of NCAA tournament appearances and national team players. Schneider's commitment also bridges a family trend—her mother Cindy Schneider played field hockey at the University of Iowa and her younger sister Katie Schneider will complete the mother-daughter-dynasty and also attend Louisville in 2019.
Making the furthest trek east to Massachusetts RUSH midfielder and defenseman Jenna Tampon, will suit up with Smith College in the fall. Last season Smith finished second in the NEWMAC and landed 14 members on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Academic squad. Additionally, the 1983 Smith field hockey team was recently inducted into Smith’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
With a rich history of RUSH payers in the Big Ten Conference, RUSH's Saywer Post keeps the trend going with her commitment to Michigan State University. A speedy attacker, Post will join the Spartans on their newly renovated Astro turf field scheduled to be finished later this summer. She will be the fourth RUSH player since 2002 to wear the green and white, following in the footsteps of Jessica Miller, Kathryn Elenz-Martin Douglas and former RUSH Assistant Program Director, Molly Cassidy.
Despite the cross-country spread of commitments, not every RUSH player will have to bid the other good-bye. In fact, four will continue to play together while another joins a rivalry school nearby.
RUSH Program Director Brian Schledorn (left) coaches an Elite Performance Group in San Diego.
Megan Rodgers, a USA Under-19 team member and San Diego’s record goal scorer, will be this year’s lone RUSH player to join the University of California, Berkeley. However, she will find plenty of familiarity as at least one RUSH player has been on Cal's roster every year for nearly the last decade. The core group of Cal's returning players this year include RUSH alums: Maddie Ashbrook, Mara Gutierrez, Gabi Jimenez, Krya Kent, Zoe Randolph and Alie Zimmer.
Not too far away, Rodgers will encounter soon-to- be friendly foes also settling into their new home in the American East Conference. The University of California, Davis will welcome four RUSH newcomers to their equally weighted team full of RUSH alums.
Melissa Ardila, Summer Borsack, Daniella Schoenfeld and Madison Theodore will join the Aggies who currently roster five RUSH alums with whom they have trained with and or played alongside at some point in their career.
An explosive and instinctual player, Ardila will bring her consistent goalkeeping to the UC Davis backfield. Ardila will join RUSH alum, Chelsea Bigelow in their goalkeeper unit with stalwart support from RUSH alum defenders, Sara Janetzky and Madison Cohen. Before Bigelow and Ardila, the last RUSH goalkeeper to play in California was Haleh Nourani at Cal in 2008.
Summer Borsack and Daniella Schoenfeld will also add to the Aggies’ defensive line after years of solid defense for RUSH Under-19 and Under-16 travel teams. A multiple sport athlete, Borsack chose field hockey at UC Davis where her sister Eden, a RUSH alum and senior, is also on the team. Schoenfeld, a co-captain at Serra High School with Rogers and Schneider, also showcased well to the UC school with a 4.64 GPA and as ASB President.
On the offensive front, Madison Theodore rounds out the UC Davis freshmen class of RUSH players headed off to college. Theodore will bring crafty stick skills and distribution tactics to the midfield and forward line. There she will find RUSH alums and teammates once again-- Tatiana Arias and Farah Farjood.
For more information on commitments and tournament play updates, follow RUSH Field Hockey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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By: Cass Jordan
SAN DIEGO -- More often than not coaches can come to be seen as the face of their respected programs. “Coach K” is synonymous with Duke, Bill Belichick continues to win with the Patriots and the Terrapins have had Missy Meharg-- all who have built a legacy unique to them. Players graduate, others get traded and most will eventually hang up their sport all-together, so it is no wonder the constant that remains with a coach is something to be valued.
Brian Schledorn has been that constant for RUSH Field Hockey amidst the club’s rise to national prominence in recent years. Since 2009, Schledorn took over program director and head coaching duties while gradually expanding training to welcome youth of all ages throughout Southern California. In an effort to better understand how he has done it, here is The Coach Behind the Program.
- Brian, first of all congratulations on your success with RUSH and No.3 national club ranking, according to USA Field Hockey. What does it mean to you to have put RUSH on the map in a sport predominantly associated with the East Coast?
Thank you! I am extremely proud of our program and teams who made this happen for us. Obtaining a top three spot means we developed a system that accomplished my short term and long term goals. Our program has been on a steep trajectory within the rankings. I really believe the early successes we had allowed us to continue to move forward. We knew RUSH needed to take a group and take them to the top before growing in size.
- You yourself were typically the youngest member on club and USA National teams growing up. How important was your own self-discovery and willingness to learn from mistakes at a young age?
RUSH Program Director Brian Schledorn (Right) playing for the USA Men's National Team.
Good question. Being the youngest was great for my development of hockey knowledge and tactics, but being the youngest trying to break into a national team, you need to find your way and develop your own skills independently. In competitive environments, people are not as helpful, but it motivated me to find my own way to perform skills. Concurrently, coaching at a young age let me test my progression with players I coached. If it worked for me and them, it was good.
- Looking at your coaching history, it is pretty extensive. You have coached USA Men's National teams, RUSH players; including current USA Junior National team members in addition to coaching at the NCAA Division I level. Having coached so many athletes and teams, what is your philosophy behind the attributes that make a best player and what makes a great team?
I believe it is so important to develop players who are unique to themselves; mentally, skillfully and emotionally. Then placing them in the correct positions within our system allows them to shine.
- Every player growing up is taught the same fundamental skills and game-play tactics as options. However, the “RUSH System” could more closely represent set plays with position movement and selective pass options. How does playing this “RUSH System” simplify the game for RUSH players, but make it so hard for teams to defend against?
The RUSH System involves all players on the field. During training we teach the components which prepares them to understand the complete team movement. Our pre-tournament preparation filters the information per position/line and clear achievable goals. I think the challenges for our opponents is we have many solutions to adjust into during a game. One big lesson in my early years was at a national showcase-- you play against many styles of play with the amount of teams at the tournament and you need to have solutions for each of them. Our style uncovers their weaknesses, and one of my jobs is to see the most favorable match ups and exploit.
- This “RUSH System,” why can't it be duplicated?
Well it can't be duplicated because it represents my field hockey journey as a player that many have influenced my vision of the game. My players inspire me daily and every group of players require adjustments for the system to function.
- You talk about your own personal journey as a player. How did a coach(es) accelerate your development throughout your career and influence your style today?
I have been fortunate to have worked with coaches from all over the world; German, Dutch, Australian, English, Indian, South Africa, Canadian and of course USA. Each of them gave me a different piece of the pie of my overall understanding. Each component simplified the game for me which allowed me to focus information of the game for my athletes. I guess my style is a bit of a melting pot of all styles, an American style.
- Your practices are known to be high tempo and shorter than typical practices. What is the reasoning behind this?
We train as if a session is a game. We build skills and concepts within each session, more importantly create an environment that mimics a game with information, competitions and pressure. Most of our girls are very busy, we also want to make sure we get the most out of each session to balance their lives.
- In contrast to many coaches, during games you are often seen quietly watching—sometimes even sitting instead of yelling out direction. Why is this?
Game time is for the athletes to play, most of our information has already been delivered. If I am vocal, it means we need reminders of our game plan. I also believe during competition my job is to observe the game as a whole to figure out solutions for second half. If you can identify behaviors of another team, you adjust to counter it.
- USA Field Hockey recently announced you as the Men’s USA Associate Head Coach after helping the team at the Pan American games last year. Congratulations!
Thank you! It is a great honor to represent the USA again. And to have the feeling of coming full circle within the program, kind of makes me feel old. I am thankful of Chris Clements and Rutger Wiese for giving me this opportunity! It has already been a great learning experience that has helped again to evolve RUSH's style of play.
- When RUSH players leave to play in college, do you have goals for them? If so, what if anything do you want them to remember from their time with RUSH?
My current goal is to mentor impact players for all divisions of college hockey. But it depends on the individual and their goals. I am extremely proud of everyone who has been given the opportunity to compete in college. I hope they remember we pushed them to the highest level in their time with us while creating a winning culture and igniting them for the next step in their hockey career. And Hockey is fun!
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The RUSH under-19 team rises five spots to No. 8 in the USA Field Hockey national club rankings, as released earlier this week. With 320 points, RUSH is the highest-ranking club not just in California, but west of the Mississippi.
Rankings are based on performances from 2013 to present at five different USA Field Hockey sanctioned events. Those events, which vary in the number of points possible, include: Festival (100), Disney Showcase (120), Regional Club Championships (40-65), the National Club Championships (200), and the newly added Club Challenge (40).
The rise in rankings comes after RUSH captured the 2015 Regional Club Championship in Missouri earlier this year. The tournament win garnered RUSH 40 points and an automatic bid to the National Club Championship in which they were unable to attend.
However, the rankings are not quite as black and white as they seem.
RUSH’s total in points are without four point-based tournaments in which RUSH did not participate. No other team in the top 10 is missing as many:
2014 Regional Club Championship and National Club Championship
2015 National Club Championship and Club Challenge (new this year)
To put it into perspective, RUSH is just 12 points shy of jumping one spot, to No. 7, in the rankings. The National Club Championship awards teams a minimum 50 points just for participating. At that amount, RUSH could have been as high as No. 5—and that is just one tournament.
As RUSH continues to grow, especially in recent years, it the organization’s priority to make an effort to attend all USA sanctioned recruiting and point-based tournaments.
For more information on rankings you can click here.
TORONTO -- This summer RUSH Program Director Brian Schledorn assisted the USA Men's National Field Hockey team at the Pan American Games in an effort to qualify for next year's Olympics.
The event held in Canada this July drew close to 7,000 athletes from all across the Americas and Caribbean to compete in the world's third largest multi-sport event.
On foreign soil and sporting red, white and blue, Schledorn's efforts have landed him in this position many times before. This time now coaching the team he once suited up to play for.
Schledorn's tenure on the USA National Men’s team as a crucial part of the backfield included playing in two Pan Am Games and training for three Olympic Games. In 1996, he was also an alternate to the Atlanta Olympics.
Schledorn and other nationally renowned coaches were selected by USA Field Hockey Head Coach Chris Clements for the event. For close to two weeks, Schledorn scouted competing teams, conducted video analysis, and helped prepare the team for a grueling schedule.
Despite losing just one match and missing Olympic qualification, the USA is primed with growing talent. Of the eight field hockey teams who participated, the USA roster was by far the youngest all around team.
The USA tied Cuba and Brazil and took home wins over Trinidad & Tobago as well as Mexico.