Upper Perkiomen senior Casey Umstead, center, signed a national letter of intent to play field hockey at the University of Connecticut Friday. Umstead is pictured with mother, Becky Umstead, left, and father, Todd Umstead, right. (Photo courtesy Upper Perkiomen athletics)
From one champion to another.
After putting together arguably her strongest season as a member of the Upper Perkiomen Tribe, All-Area Player of the Year Casey Umstead signed her letter of intent to play for the defending national champion University of Connecticut Huskies.
"I really like the coaches and I thought the campus was amazing," Umstead said. "They were one of the first colleges to see me in 10th grade. That was important that they saw that I was going to develop into a good player.
"I'm really hoping to be an impact player. Hopefully I'll score some goals."
Umstead leaves Upper Perkiomen as the team's most prolific scorer. She registered 51 goals as a senior, including a two-goal game in the team's PAC-10 championship victory over Owen J. Roberts - its first league title since 2006 - and the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Merion Mercy in the District 1-AA final, the Tribe's first district crown since '06. Umstead finished with 128 goals in her storied career.
Throughout her four-year scholastic career, Umstead has racked up some impressive honors.
She was named to the Harrow Sports/NFHCA All-American third team in 2013, the Pennsylvania All-Region first team in 2013, the All-Region second team in 2012, All-State four years running, the PAC-10 All-Conference first team three times (2010-2012), and the All-Area first team twice.
That's not including being a member of the X-Calibur club team since 2008, a National Futures member, a Futures Elite member, a USA U-17 member who traveled to Holland last season, and finally, a USA U-19 member entering this winter.
"She's driven," Upper Perkiomen head coach Jamie Warren said. "She's a very driven athlete. I could tell by her determination that she would be able to excel (at the D-I level)."
Umstead will be joining a strong contingent of local players at UConn that includes, Asia Crawford (Methacton), Olivia Bolles (Phoenixville, Villa Maria) and Emily Walsh (Methacton). The group helped UConn capture its third national championship with a 2-0 victory over No. 4 Duke, which features Paula Heimbach (Upper Perkiomen), and Heather Morris (Owen J. Roberts).
"I know them and they are real awesome friends," Umstead said of her future teammates. "The whole team there is just great. "When I went to summer camps I was able to bond with them. When I get there they will be juniors and seniors so I'll have a few years with them."
Warren is confident that UConn head coach Nancy Stevens - the reigning NFHCA Coach of the Year - and the rest of the coaching staff will be quick to utilize Umstead when she enters this summer.
"I think they have some big plans for Casey based on her scoring ability," Warren said. "Any team would take that. If she goes in at top shape and works hard in the preseason, I think she could definitely get some playing time."
Umstead, who plans to major in Biology, wants to do exactly what she did as a member of the Tribe - win a championship.
"That makes me want to work even harder," she said. "I want a championship ring - I am going to go and do my best."
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