Northern Lebanon senior Paige Stuppy signs her letter of intent to attend Lock Haven where she will play field hockey while being flanked by her parents
Northern Lebanon senior Paige Stuppy signs her letter of intent to attend Lock Haven where she will play field hockey while being flanked by her parents Jeff and Deb Stuppy. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS EARL BRIGHTBILL
FREDERICKSBURG - Well, Team USA Field Hockey does have a cage to fill.

For nearly a decade, Northern Lebanon High School has supplied the country with an Olympic goalkeeper. Amy (Tran) Swensen, a 1998 NL grad, backstopped the U.S. in both Beijing (2008) and London (2012). She stepped away from the sport last month, retiring at 32.

Perhaps it's time to turn the Paige on NL's next chapter. The Vikings unveiled their latest national prospect Wednesday afternoon in senior Paige Stuppy.

Flanked by parents Deb and Jeff, she signed her Letter of Intent to attend Division I Lock Haven University. After finding a proper pen, Stuppy dropped her John Hancock in front of a small audience of family, friends and administration in the high school's board room.

"I just want to thank everybody that got me here - all my coaches," she said, posing for pictures with an autographed Swensen helmet. "I hope (I'm ready). I think I'll do OK."

Stuppy takes her talents 2 ½ hours north this fall to play field hockey in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

"I got a call at the end of my junior year, then I went and checked it out, and I liked it," Stuppy said of Lack Haven. "It's a really nice place. It's more my kind of style."

The Bald Eagles finished 11-9 last season under head coach Pat Rudy.

"I talk to the coaches regularly, the assistant coach and head coach," she said. "I e-mail them pretty regularly and tell them what I'm doing, and they ask.



In addition to LHU, Stuppy considered Temple, Bloomsburg and Lehigh, along with a few other D-I options. Her final decision hinged on finding the ideal curriculum to major in sports administration.

"Sports are everything. They're all I do," joked Stuppy, born in Hershey, raised in Jonestown.

As a four-year fixture for the Vikings, she started every game since her freshman season. Stuppy finished as the school's career (878) and single-season saves leader (306).

"We had tough seasons, but the teams that we have here are close teams," said Stuppy. "Every field hockey team I've played on here, we're like family together. It's just a good feel, a good vibe."

Individually, she earned Lancaster-Lebanon League First Team All-Star status three times and All-County accolades four times.

"She's definitely a team leader, very team spirited," said NL field hockey coach Stacy Garber. "And very encouraging to other players. She's always giving them tips as to what to do."

As the last line of defense, Stuppy turned away 306 of 352 shots (87 percent) her final season.

"She has the experience of being shot at a lot. She knows," smiled Garber. "She's used to being under pressure."

Although her decision to go to Lock Haven came easy, it was hard to leave behind her first love - softball.

"(Softball) was my original plan; I never pictured myself to be playing field hockey in college to be honest," she said. "But I am going to try to walk-on for their softball team."

On the diamond, Stuppy hit .417 last spring, nearly duplicating her sophomore effort of .418. She has been selected as the L-L League's First-Team third baseman in 2011 and 2012. Not surprising, considering she played baseball against boys from Little League to teeners.

"Her athleticism gives her the ability," added Garber. "She was pretty much set with where she wanted to go. She had in her head what she wanted to do and what she wanted to major in."