Wilson and McFerran big coups for US college system

Zoe Wilson and Ayeisha McFerran are among the marquee additions to the Irish abroad in the US as they link up with Syracuse University and the Louisville Cardinals for the upcoming college season which gets under way this week.

The Ballyclare GS alumni has been training with the Irish senior panel in recent times having previously played with the Irish Under-18 side in the summer and the Under-21s the year before in the Euros.

Zoe Wilson in action for Ulster U-18s last season. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Zoe Wilson in action for Ulster U-18s last season. Picture: Adrian Boehm

She links up with senior Emma Russell who was one of the stars of the 2014 season, top-scoring for the side and closing in on becoming the university’s all-time highest goalscorer.

The Orange will be aiming to go one better than last year when they were denied by Roisin Upton’s Uconn Huskies who won the title back-to-back.

The Limerick native was one of the stand-out players of the last campaign, named in 10 different representative line-ups including the NCAA All-tournament team, the Big East defensive player of the yeat and an ECAC First Team All-Star.

Ayeisha McFerran is another big move stateside as the Irish senior international goalkeeper – a member of the World League semi-final panel and the number one for the Europeans – goes to the Louisville Cardinals to join forces with former Corinthian and Three Rock player Lucas Piccioli.

Pippa Best joins the ever-growing former Lurgan crew at the Liberty Flames after five years captaining teams at Royal School, Armagh. She links up with Barr sisters Natalie (senior year), Bethany and Serena (both juniors).

Natalie is the programme’s highest ever goalscorer with 40 to her name as well as assists and has the accolade of 10 game-winning goals also on her record.

At Northwestern University, Juliet Beatty will be looking to build on a productive second season where she played 16 times and netted two goals. Lisa McCarthy is in her senior year after an impressive 2014 campaign, named in NFHCA second team All-American and created 14 goals all told.

Philippa Cotter is at Boston College for a second year while former King’s Hospital goalkeeper Katie Miller is a sophomore at Michigan State.

University of Massachussets have a number of Irish players, too, with former Railway Union duo Cliodhna Loughlin and Sarah Hawkshaw on their roster.

Loughlin is in her third season while Hawkshaw is back for a second campaign having scored six times in her first year, tenth overall in the Atlantic 10 competition, including two game winners. They are in a panel coached by USA stars Melissa Gonzalez and Shannon Taylor.

The Richmond Spiders still has one Irish player on their list with Amy Cooke looking to make it a full boat in terms of selection in the All-Atlantic first team having received a call-up in each of the last three seasons.

Becky Danaher – daughter of former rugby international Philip – is a new arrival at the Longwood Lancers, making it two former Ursuline Convent, Thurles alumni at the university. Edel Nyland is the other.

** This list may not be entirely comprehensive; if you see any Irish player missing, please me email me at hookresults@yahoo.com

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