Ashland's Elizabeth Hitti a hit as a freshman for Penn field hockey

Ashland’s Hitti shines in UPenn field hockey

Ashland's Elizabeth Hitti  has made an immediate impact as a freshman on the women’s field hockey team at the University of Pennsylvania.

An ice hockey and field hockey captain last year at the Rivers School of Weston, she has been honored twice as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

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The 5-foot-4 attack was tied for the team scoring lead with 16 points (5 goals and a team-best 6 assists) prior to last Friday's (10/12) league matchup with Columbia.

She had two assists in a 4-0 victory last Sunday vs. Radford (Va.) University to help the Quakers improve to 6-5 overall (1-2 Ivy). Hitti's second weekly honor followed a two-goal outing vs. LaSalle and a goal and assist vs. Harvard — both Penn victories.

“The first time I saw Elizabeth play, I wanted her in our program,” said Penn's third-year coach Colleen Fink, whose team has already won more games than in 2011 (4) and 2010 (3).

“You could tell she had an ice hockey background the way she stickhandled and took chances when she had possession, and I liked her style.

“We had high expectations for Elizabeth and she's definitely met them,” added Fink. “If we're in a tough situation, she has the mentality to carry the load but in an unselfish way because of her compete level and energy.”

Hitti was introduced to field hockey at age 11 when she attended King's High School for Girls in Warwick, England.

“My father, Nabil, was transferred for work and I was there until I was 13,” recalled Hitti, whose mother, Annemarie, was on the crew team at Union College, “I had played soccer and ice hockey and found that field hockey combined the positioning of soccer and the stick skills of hockey and I immediately took to it.”

While in England, Hitti also honed her field hockey skills by playing for county and regional teams.

She helped lead Rivers to the New England Prep Class C field hockey title last fall, earning team and tournament MVP honors.

“Elizabeth helped bring our field hockey program to another level,”said Rivers athletic director Jim McNally

Hitti was also a winger on the Rivers girls’ ice hockey team that advanced to the post-season during her four years on the varsity, including appearances in the NEPSAC finals and semifinals. She first played ice hockey as a 6-year-old at Framingham's Loring Arena.

“I sort of gravitated toward that style of play in field hockey,” said Hitti, a member of the 2011-2012 United States Futures Elite team for high school age field hockey players and an All-Tournament Junior Olympic field hockey pick in 2010.

“When coach Fink recruited me, she had a vision of how to make her team better and a passion for the sport that drew me to the university and her program. I've embraced the challenge and I love field hockey more than ever.”

Rotary pays tribute
to Cappelletti

Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti was saluted with a tribute by the Rotary Club of Wellesley Tuesday night at the community center. A town resident for close to 50 years, Cappelletti retired as color analyst on the Patriots’ radio broadcasts in July. His play-by-play partner for 29 years, Gil Santos , introduced Cappelletti while fondly reminiscing about their days together in the booth. Former Patriots linebacker Steve Nelson , like Cappelletti a proud son of northern Minnesota, lauded Cappelletti, the all-time leading scorer in the American Football League, for his excellence as a player, coach, and broadcaster. Upton Bell , former general manager of the Patriots and a longtime radio personality, spoke of Cappelletti’s greatness as a kicker.

Brandeis resumes varsity aquatics

Breda O'Connor has been named assistant swimming coach and Charlotte Rea  diving coach at Brandeis University, which will resume varsity competition after a two-year hiatus. The Judges, who will compete at the university's renovated aquatic center, open their season Saturday against visiting Wheaton College.

O'Connor, a former Bentley University captain, was most recently head men's and women's swimming coach and aquatics director at Regis College, where she succeeded current Brandeis head coach Mike Kotch.  Rea, one of the top divers in Brandeis history and a 2009 graduate, has coached at Framingham, Holliston and Hopkinton high schools.

While the Brandeis pool was closed, the program continued at the club level for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. This year's roster includes senior men's sprint, freestyle and butterfly swimmer Niko Karkantis (Acton-Boxborough) and sophomore women's diver Eliza Kopelman  (Brookline High).

Here and there

Newton teen Gracia Leydon Mahoney , profiled in this space last week, captured a gold medal Tuesday on the 3-meter board at the World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide, Australia. A former student at Newton North, she attends Durham (N.C.) Academy to train with Duke Aquatics. . . .

Framingham State junior outside hitter Andressa Fernandes  is making a strong case to repeat as the MASCAC Volleyball Player of the Year. The 5-foot-9 Keefe Tech graduate was named the conference's Player of the Week for the third consecutive week, and fourth overall, after averaging 13 kills and 8.3 digs over three matches for the Rams (18-5 overall, 4-0 MASCAC). She recorded a game-high 21 digs in a 3-1 win over Bridgewater Tuesday. Last year, Fernandes was instrumental in leading the Rams to 19 wins and a 5-1 MASCAC record with 344 kills and 213 digs. . . .

Former Globe All-Scholastic Diane Kim  of Acton is a starting sophomore defender on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology field hockey team (11-2, 4-1 NEWMAC), which carried a six-game winning streak into Saturday's conference game at Springfield. MIT won the league title last year and set a program record with 19 wins. She Kim helped lead A-BActon-Boxborough to the Division 1 state championship as a high school player. . . .

Former Brookline High football coach and athletic director Ed Schluntz  received the Jumbo Football Alumni Award prior to Tufts University's home opener. Schluntz, class of 1950, was a three-sport standout in college. A past president of the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and Franklin native, he now resides in Newton.