Princeton Hires Van Sickle as Assistant Coach

by USA Field Hockey

Content Courtesy of Princeton Athletics

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Princeton Field Hockey Team has hired a new assistant coach, Caitlin (Poppy) Van Sickle, head coach Carla Tagliente has announced.

Van Sickle comes from Powerhouse Field Hockey Club in Wayne, Pa., where she was the Director of Coaching.

"I am beyond excited to become the new Assistant Coach at Princeton," stated Van Sickle. "I wanted to first thank Carla Tagliente for the opportunity to work at such a prestigious university and accomplished program. The success Carla and the team of student athletes have had in the last few seasons is a tribute to the strength and support of the athletic department. I am anxious and thrilled to get on campus to meet the team and get the ball rolling for what I know will be another successful season for the Tigers."

"We are excited to welcome Caitlin to the Princeton family," said Tagliente. "Her progressive and current hockey knowledge paired with her experience as a formidable defender on the world stage will be so valuable for our talented Tiger defenders. She is a natural leader that has had success at every level that she has played at. As a three-time All-American, National Champion, and Olympian, Caitlin has the experience and proven track record to be a valuable mentor to our student-athletes as they work to achieve their academic and athletic goals.

Van Sickle recorded 148 international caps with the United States Field Hockey Team from 2013-19. Some of her signature moments include a bronze medal at the 2019 Pan American Games and a fifth-place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She was teammates on the national squad with Princeton alumnae Kat Sharkey '13, Katie Reinprecht '13 and Julia Reinprecht '14.

Van Sickle graduated from North Carolina in 2013 following a decorated career with the Tar Heels. Her last three years included three straight Team Most Valuable Player Awards, First-Team All-America accolades, ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, All-ACC and All-ACC Tournament selections. In addition, she was named the 2012 ACC Tournament MVP and helped the squad win consecutive ACC titles in 2011-12. The Tar Heels played in the National Championship all four years she was there highlighted by the 2009 title.

Van Sickle Testimonials

Caitlin was one of the greatest players to ever wear a Carolina uniform, then had a remarkable career with U.S. National team and ultimately became an Olympian in Rio. She's been a success at every level, and I'm so proud to see her jump into the coaching ranks. I have no doubt she'll be a success there as well. The sport of field hockey needs more people like Poppy – she's a great ambassador for our game, and I know she's going to make an impact.

– Karen Shelton, North Carolina head coach

I couldn't be happier to hear that Caitlin will be joining the program. I was fortunate to be her teammate for a number of years on the US National Team. Her technical and tactical knowledge of the game is world class. In addition, her work ethic, leadership, and all-around passion for field hockey is contagious and will absolutely impact the program in a positive way both on and off the field.

– Kat Sharkey '13 – USA Field Hockey teammate

I had the pleasure of playing with Caitlyn as we trained for the 2016 Olympics. At our first practice, I learned right away who Caitlyn was - a fierce competitor, passionate leader and thoughtful teammate - and she remained that way until our final match together. I have no doubt that she will continue to share her passion and enthusiasm for the sport with the Princeton team. She will challenge them (as she did me) to push to their highest potential at every practice and during every game.

– Julia Reinprecht '14 – USA Field Hockey teammate

I'm absolutely thrilled to hear Caitlin (Poppy) will be joining the Princeton field hockey family. Having played with Caitlin for several years, I can truly say she is one of the most hardworking and selfless teammates I've come in contact with. I have no doubt Caitlin will bring the same work ethic, dedication and loyalty to Princeton that she displayed while on the national team. Arguably even more valuable than having Caitlin as a teammate, was gaining her as a friend. She is kind, generous and lights up any conversation she joins in. I'm excited to see the impact that Caitlin has on the Princeton field hockey team and staff as well as the Princeton community at large.

– Katie Reinprecht '13 – USA Field Hockey teammate