Stauffer, Kidwell give verbals to Division One programs Ephrata Sr. picks Indiana, CHS star off to Villanova

By on January 4, 2012

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

It’s been a successful couple of months for Rachel Stauffer and Taylor Kidwell.

Both led their respective field hockey teams on post-season runs, each received both League and State recognition for their excellent play, and recently the two local stars decided where they’ll play collegiately for the next four years.

Stauffer, a senior forward at Ephrata, gave her verbal commitment to Indiana University while Kidwell, a Cocalico senior, announced she is headed to the Main Line to attend Villanova University. Both have accepted athletic scholarships and are expected to sign with their respective schools on National Letter of Intent Day on Feb. 1.

A three-year letter winner at Cocalico, Kidwell was a three-time L-L All-Star, as well as an L-L All-League and First Team All-State defender who recorded 15 defensive saves this past fall.

"(Taylor) and (fellow defender) Jordan Miller were the backbone of the team this year," Cocalico Coach Krista Page said. "They played in the positions to be able to see the entire field. (Taylor’s) knowledge of the game has greatly increased from last year. She was a wall back there this year, and one game in particular was the L-L Semifinals against Penn Manor. She gave their offense a fit, they could not get into our circle in the first half. She had a goal and last spring committed herself to that goal."

After also considering Shippensburg, LaSalle and Temple, among others, Kidwell set her sights on Villanova pretty early in the process, which she said began the summer before her junior year. The proximity to home was a big determining factor in her decision to join the Big East school.

"I liked that it’s only an hour away, that way my parents and family can come watch me play," she said recently. "The campus is really nice. It’s in a good part of Philly. It’s very safe and I just really liked the whole atmosphere there."

Kidwell, who scored four goals and tallied four assists this past season, will major in biology at Nova with the goal of becoming a physical therapist down the road.

As for the hockey end of it, she said she’d like to make an impact on the collegiate level as early as next year.

"I just want to fit in and learn how (Villanova) plays," she said. "I want to be able to play with them and just step up and hopefully do the best I can."

What Kidwell was to Cocalico defensively, Stauffer was Ephrata’s rock at the offensive end.

"Rachel was the engine behind our team attack the past three years," Ephrata Coach Rhoda Mountz said. "She has been our primary play maker, setting up the attack. She is very quick and dynamic with the ball. Her teammates will miss her– they always would look to her for strength and leadership. I am sure we have all learned something from Rachel over the past four years that will make us all better people, both on and off the field. Ephrata Field Hockey tips it hat to Rachel. We are proud of her and wish her luck at the next level."

Stauffer, who received Honorable Mention All-State recognition this past season, admitted she started to feel the pressures of the recruiting process late in the high school season but added she’s excited and relieved to have come to her decision to attend Indiana.

"The recruiting process for me was probably unlike most," Stauffer said. "I didn’t even really start looking at colleges until the summer before my senior year and I didn’t know much about what that involved. Thankfully I had plenty of people who knew what I needed to do and supported me. Many people have been by my side through this whole thing. When I first started looking at colleges I looked at in-state schools and to be honest my name wasn’t really out there considering I wasn’t involved in many club teams. I always wanted to go big, see how far I could make it because I knew if I didn’t it would be something I’d look back on years from now and regret immensely."

Up until the time came for her to make a decision, all signs pointed to Ohio University for Stauffer, who scored nine career goals and 23 assists and was a Section Two First Team selection the past two seasons for the Lady Mounts.

In fact, Indiana wasn’t on her radar until late in the high school season when she went to see Ohio play, and the team they were facing just happened to be the Hoosiers.

"(With) help from Nina Sensenig (Ephrata middle school field hockey coach and former Ohio university player) I had been been set on OU for a while," Stauffer said. "When I went to their game against Indiana, (Coach Mountz) introduced me to the head coach there, Amy Robertson. We kept in contact, they saw me at festival and after my official visit there I just knew it was right. That happened really fast and caught me off guard because I thought Ohio was where I’d end up. It hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be playing in the Big Ten but it’s a great accomplishment and one I’m proud of. Having said that, if it weren’t for my family, friends and Coach Mountz… I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. Coach Mountz really went above and beyond, going on several visits with me and just being really supportive and concerned throughout the entire process."

Stauffer, who made her official visit to Indiana right after competing at the National Festival in late Nov., said she was sold on IU after her trip to Bloomington.

"I just loved the coaches there," she said. "They are so nice and the campus is gorgeous. I also met some members of the team and it seemed like I really connected with them."

Stauffer, who is interested in studying either athletic training or some form of communications, said she hopes to step in and contribute to the team as early as next year for the Hoosiers.

"The difference between Ohio and Indiana is Ohio is more of a program that builds you up your freshman and sophomore years and then you’ll be more likely to play your junior and senior years," Stauffer explained. "But (Coach Robertson said she subs more and as long as you are working hard she’ll throw you into a game. That’s what I’m hoping for next year." More VERBALS, page B-4

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