Drexel assistant coach and former All-American takes reigns of National Semifinalist squad
EASTON, Mass. (June 3, 2015) – Stonehill College has named Susan Ciufo as head coach of its field hockey program. The announcement was made today by Cindy MacDonald, Interim Director of Athletics, and confirmed by Pauline Dobrowski, Vice President for Student Affairs at the College.
"I am thrilled to welcome Susan Ciufo as the next head coach of the Stonehill field hockey program," said MacDonald. "Her involvement with previous programs have enjoyed both athletic success and academic accolades, this coupled with her enthusiasm for the sport will undoubtedly be the cornerstone to her leading our field hockey program in their continued pursuit of a national championship. I am confident that Susan's passion, energy and knowledge of the game along with her experience playing field hockey at the collegiate and international levels will be an asset to our program and the development of our student-athletes on the field, in the classroom, and in our community."
Ciufo takes over the program at Stonehill following the departure of Shelly Morris to become associate head coach at Northeastern University, her alma mater, last month. Ciufo spent two seasons as assistant coach at her alma mater, Drexel University, following two years at Lehigh University and also brings a wealth of international experience with the USA Field Hockey indoor team.
"I would like to thank Cindy MacDonald and the entire administration at Stonehill for this amazing opportunity," said Ciufo "With the recent success that the field hockey program has had, I am eager to begin working with this talented group of student-athletes. I am excited to help lead this program to success on the pitch, in the classroom and in the community."
During her two seasons as an assistant coach under long-time head coach Denise Zelenak at Drexel, Ciufo worked with both the forwards and goalkeepers, preparing practice plans and developing their individual skills for game day. She had a focus on breaking down game film and recruiting student-athletes from across the country. The Dragons posted a 23-15 (.605) overall record in her two seasons as an assistant coach, including a 6-6 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association, posting a pair of wins over nationally-ranked University of Iowa in 2013 and Temple University in 2014. Drexel earned a spot in the 2013 CAA semifinals, posting a 13-7 record overall, including 4-2 in the CAA.
Prior to returning as an assistant coach with her alma mater, Ciufo served two seasons at Lehigh as assistant coach under Stacey Eversley, who formerly coached at Northeast-10 Conference member American International College. Ciufo was the Mountain Hawks recruiting coordinator and offensive specialist and served as interim head coach while Eversley was on maternity leave over the latter part of the 2012 season, gaining valuable experience in that role.
Ciufo is active with USA Field Hockey, both as a player and coach. She has been a member of the USA Indoor National Team since 2011, earning a gold medal at the 2013 Rohrmax Cup and a bronze medal at the 2014 Pan Am Cup. Ciufo has been a USA Regional and National Futures Tournament selector since 2013, was an assistant coach with USA New Jersey Junior High Performance in 2011 and USA Pennsylvania High Performance in 2015. She has also earned coaching experience as head coach of Mystx Field Hockey Club's U-19 squad.
Ciufo is a 2011 graduate of Drexel, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and she is on target to receive her Masters Degree in sports management from Drexel this month. She was a four-year starter for the Dragons field hockey program and ranks second in program history with 58 goals and 140 points in 84 career games. She was a four-time CAA Scholar-Athlete honoree and was named first team All-CAA and first team Regional All-American as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2008, Ciufo set the NCAA record with a 22 game point streak and received third team All-America honors. She helped the 2009 Dragons earn an at large bid in the 2009 NCAA Tournament after winning the CAA regular season championship.
The Stonehill field hockey program is coming off a 2014 season in which it posted a 17-4 record overall, including a 9-2 mark in the Northeast-10. The Skyhawks won the NE-10 Tournament Championship and earned a spot in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with their sixth NCAA bid. Stonehill had three student-athletes earn All-America honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA), including North Region Player of the Year Erika Kelly (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown), who is a rising senior with the squad and the program's all-time leading scorer. Five Skyhawks earned postseason recognition from the NE-10, with three also receiving NE-10 Academic All-Conference honors.
With 20 intercollegiate sports, Stonehill boasts one of the top athletic and academic programs in the country. In addition to winning its fifth Northeast-10 Presidents' Cup following the 2014-15 academic year, the Skyhawks have received the NCAA Division II Presidents' Award for Academic Achievement each of the first three years of the program's existence of honoring institutions with an Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90-percent or better. Stonehill has earned a 96% Academic Success Ranking (ASR) by the NCAA, which considers the academic success rate of the institution based on the graduation rate of student-athletes, good for eighth among all NCAA Division II institutions, with 12 Skyhawk teams receiving a perfect rating of 100%. In addition, the Skyhawks are ranked third in the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Power Rankings for Division II used to assess the academic and athletic standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs. Stonehill has also been selected as the host of the 2016 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships at W.B. Mason Stadium.