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East seniors share college plans


laying collegiate baseball since he was a youngster. Elizabeth Philipp and Emma Donnelly both knew that collegiate field hockey was in their future. The three Central Bucks East seniors were recognized last week for committing to continue their respective careers at the Division I level.

Young will continue his baseball career at Lehigh University, Donnelly will play hockey at James Madison University, and Philipp will move across the country to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she will continue her hockey career. Both Donnelly and Philipp were key players in the Patriots run to a share of the SOL Continental Conference title.

Donnelly is following in the footsteps of her older sibling, Riley Donnelly, who is a fixture in the starting lineup for perennial national power University of Maryland. Her mother, Mindy, played collegiate hockey at Lehigh.

“My older sister is one of my really big role models, and I saw she went really far in hockey,” Donnelly said. “I also played travel soccer for a while, so field hockey and soccer were my two main things. I dropped soccer so I could do more things with hockey.”

A four-year starter, Donnelly reached the 100-point milestone this year.

“To be a four-year starter is an accomplishment in itself, and then to achieve the 100 points – year after year, she always contributed something that added up in the end and made her a very solid, strong player,” East coach Meghann Spratt said. “Her speed and the way she can cover ground on the field was one of her biggest attributes as well as her stick work.

“She’s very humble, and she’s under the radar, but she constantly gets the job done.”

Donnelly selected JMU from a final list that included St. Joseph’s, Syracuse, Temple and New Hampshire. In the end, it came down to JMU and St. Joe’s.

“When I visited JMU the first time, something clicked and it just seemed really special, but I knew I had to keep looking around,” Donnelly said. “I just kept going back to it.

“I love the coaches and the fast tempo with how they run everything. Coach (Christy) Morgan really focuses on keeping everything moving, and everything is fast paced, not just the speed of the game but practices and everything.”

For Philipp, it was the high academics and opportunity to play Division I field hockey that made Berkeley the right choice from a final list that included Michigan, La Salle and William & Mary.

“I was just looking up schools online and deciding what area I wanted to be in and what majors I was interested in,” Philipp said. “When I visited Berkeley, I loved the location, I really liked the people there, and it was the place for me.”

Philipp is undecided on a major but is interested in social work, criminology and fashion marketing. A leader in the defensive backfield, Philipp was one of the unsung heroes of the Patriots’ run to a conference co-championship.

“Elizabeth was the anchor of my defense, and she was the anchor of the team pretty much leadership-wise and by example,” Spratt said. “She was probably one of the very few that gave 100 percent every single practice, every single game, every single minute without having the credit of goals, assists or anything like that. She was by far what I needed in a leader and always stepped up.”

Spratt recalled when Philipp needed stitches after splitting her chin but re-entered the game, opting to wait until after the contest to get stitches.

“The grit you can’t find in a lot of players was what she brought to the game,” Spratt said.

Young is a mainstay in the lineup for both the baseball and basketball teams. The point guard for the basketball team, he anchors the infield at shortstop for the baseball team.

“My dad’s been a baseball coach his whole life, and I’ve been around baseball,” Young said. “I love basketball, but I knew I would have a better future with my genetics in baseball.”

Young chose Lehigh from a final list that included Holy Cross, Columbia, Lafayette and Bucknell.

“I really felt like I fit in at Lehigh,” Young said. “On my official visit, it really felt like home. All the players were really welcoming. I think it’s a great atmosphere and great academics combined with a great baseball program.”

This will be Young’s third year as the Patriots’ starting shortstop.

“Tyler works incredibly hard,” East baseball coach Kyle Dennis said. “He’s put in a lot of time on his own over the past couple of years.

“He transformed himself in the last couple of years through lifting on his own. He’s gotten bigger and stronger – he’s added 15-20 pounds of muscle, and it’s really translated to his game. He’s always worked hard, and now he’s throwing harder, hitting harder, and he’s just done a great job on his own.

“Tyler won the (shortstop) job as a sophomore, and he’s never let go. He’s always done a great job. He’s very bright academically. (Lehigh) is going to challenge him on the field, it’s going to challenge him academically. It’s a great fit for him.”