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Women’s recruit: Hatboro-Horsham’s Purvis picks Penn State for lacrosse & field hockey

Monday, 1st June 2009

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School, Recruiting, Posted 6/1/09
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Lauren Purvis struggled to figure out which sport she wanted to play at the collegiate level.

The Hatboro-Horsham junior needn’t worry about that minor detail. In December, Purvis made a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Penn State University.

Yes, Purvis is that good in both sports, but that doesn’t begin to tell the story of a young lady who is, according to her coach, the “total package.”

“She is one of the most coachable players I have ever seen,” Hatters coach Jennifer Deitch said. “She listens to everything you say, and she will try everything.

“She’s a selfless player, and she makes everyone step up their game. It’s hard to slack off when Lauren is playing with you because she makes you a better player.”

Purvis was captain of the Hatters’ lacrosse team as a junior and led the team in goals (47) and assists (21).

“You can see the difference when she’s on the field in everyone’s play,” Deitch said. “Just having her in the midfield really helped with our transition, and our attack could count on her to make good passes.

“She’s just so quick – people can’t keep up with her. She will go through anyone. She has a really strong right and left hand, which makes it tough to defend her. She basically just hates to lose. She really completely changes the tone of the game.”

Purvis was a finalist for the Heather Albert Award as a member of Philly 1, a team comprised of Philadelphia underclassmen, that captured the title in the top flight (Onondaga Division) of the Schoolgirls Division at the US Lacrosse Women’s Division National Tournament in Bell Air, Md., over Memorial Day weekend.

It is the first time since 1994 that a Philly 1 squad has won the tournament.

“It was so exciting,” Purvis said. “People don’t think Philly is that good in lacrosse. It’s usually Maryland and Virginia.

“We beat two teams by 10 goals, and we’re like, ‘Wow, are we this good?’ I wasn’t surprised, but I was impressed.”

One person who wasn’t surprised by the standout effort of Purvis was Upper Dublin lacrosse coach Dee Cross, who was a coach of Philly 1 and also has coached Purvis the past two years with the Phantastix Lacrosse Club.

“Lauren never gives up,” Cross said. “She’s basically everywhere on the field.

“She double-teamed when necessary, set up the offense when necessary and helped keep possession when we needed it most. She’s a pleasure to coach because she does everything that is asked of her, and she keeps asking how she can get better.

“If Lauren loses the ball, she will always get it back. She loves to compete, and it shows in her play.”

Purvis came by her love of sports honestly.

Her father, Ed Purvis, played soccer at Temple University, and her mother, Sue – a former hockey player at Penn State – coached field hockey at Springfield-Delco until she opted to give it up in order to watch her daughters competing in sports.

Elder sister Jenny is also a standout athlete and is attending Penn State on a field hockey scholarship.

“It was probably the best thing,” Lauren said of following a sister who excelled. “I remember at a young age watching her. We practiced in the backyard, and I learned what to do from watching her.

“It’s been awesome, and I get to play with her one year in college. I’m excited about that.”

As a youngster, Purvis played them all – soccer, basketball and softball, and she admits she still has a special affinity for soccer.

“It’s still tough for me to get over soccer,” she said. “I still love to watch it though, and I watch soccer all the time with my dad.”

When she wasn’t competing in sports, Purvis was watching them with her family.

“Just our whole family loves sports,” she said. “We always watch games – Sixers games, Flyers games, everything.”

When she was in middle school, Purvis added field hockey and lacrosse to the mix. It wasn’t long before the other sports began falling by the wayside as she began playing travel lacrosse for the Phantastix and field hockey for the Mystyx club squad.

“That was huge,” she said. “That’s definitely how I got recruited because there are tournaments with college coaches.

“And camps are extremely important as well because they can see you and coach you and see the kind of player and person you are.”

Playing two sports at such a high level creates a rigorous and sometimes challenging schedule for Purvis.

“You just pick and choose what weekends you have,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll have both, and I’ll pick which is most important.

“Last weekend I had lacrosse Saturday and Sunday, and then I had field hockey on Monday night. It kind of works out perfectly. There are times when there are mix-ups, and I can’t go to both, but in the end, it’s pretty evened out what I make.

“Field hockey and lacrosse are my life in a way. If I ever have a week off, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I supposed to be doing?’”

With Penn State an almost obvious choice – her mother was a college teammate of coach Char Moret, did other schools stand a chance of landing her talents?

“Every school did,” said Purvis, who also considered Notre Dame and Virginia, but mainly for lacrosse. “I was open to everything, but in the end, Penn State won.”

The choice became a no-brainer when Penn State presented Purvis with the possibility of playing both hockey and lacrosse.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, really? I could do both?’” she said. “I have been going to Penn State’s camps since I was in ninth grade.

“I love the school. I’ve loved it since I was born. The biggest problem was which sport I was going to play. When they said I didn’t have to choose, I was like, ‘Okay, perfect.’

“People say, ‘You must be so relieved,’ but I wasn’t really stressed about it because I knew I had time. I’m just happy that I can go with my first pick.”

Purvis is undecided on a major but is considering something related with education and health, but for one more year, the Hatters will benefit from her immense talent.

“Other coaches come up to me and say, ‘You’re so lucky – you have her another year,’” Deitch said. “She could play Division One now as a junior.

“She’s phenomenal at both sports, and she’s the total package.”

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