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Oley Valley High School certainly knows how to develop field hockey players. The program’s success over the past 20 years is evident in the number of championship trophies earned by the Lady Lynx. It is also evident by the number of players who have gone on to play college field hockey.
Emily Manwiller is one of those players. She is getting her senior season underway at Millersville University as one of the four captains on the team.
Manwiller helps to anchor a defense that is the strength of a team that has struggled in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in recent years. The Marauders won just one league game last year and two each of the previous two years, but Emily has still loved her time at Millersville.
“It’s been such a great experience so far,” said Manwiller. “I’ve had amazing teammates and coaches. I’ve learned and grown so much in the past four years and I’m so excited to see what we will accomplish this season.”
Her best memory came in October of 2010 when the Marauders went up against top ranked East Stroudsburg. Thanks in part to Manwiller’s assist, Millersville upset East Stroudsburg, 1-0. It was East Stroudsburg’s first league loss after 11 straight wins.
It was a game we were expected to lose, but everybody on the team showed up to win that day,” said Manwiller. “It was the best feeling.”
Manwiller started playing field hockey at the Oley Valley Youth League when she was eight years old, as well as several club teams, middle school and Oley Valley High School. She played on three league championship team in high school and was in the state playoffs all four of her years there.
“I’ve had some of my greatest memories playing for Oley Valley, and even though the winning records and the championships were great, I will always remember the moments I’ve had with my team the most, including celebrating the wins as well as supporting each other through the losses,” said Manwiller. “We all grew up together as friends and teammates, and that’s something special that not many people get to have.”
In 2009, after transfering from York College, Manwiller appeared in all 19 games as a freshman at Millersville and scored her first career goal against Mansfield. It was a solid season for the freshman who did have some difficulty going from high school to college field hockey.
“I’ll admit at first it was a little bit challenging making the transition,” said Manwiller. “You have new coaches, new teammates and a new style of play to get used to, but the level of competitiveness in college field hockey is what makes the game even more exciting for me. It’s also awesome to be able to play against some of my high school teammates who played for other teams in our conference.”
Her sophomore season was her breakout year as she was only one of three players on the team to have started in every game that season. She had four goals and two assists and ranked second on the team with 10 points.
As as junior she was once again one of three players on the team to start every game. She developed into a solid defender her teammates could count on. Her aggressive and competitive style of play makes her a very good defender.
“I believe you have to have that kind of attitude on defense,” she said. “You can’t let anyone push you around back there. My biggest weakness is that sometimes I let myself get in my own head, and then I end up becoming my biggest competitor, but I force myself to shake it off and get back in the game.”
This will be her last season at Millersville and maybe her last season of playing competitive field hockey. It is a sport that has been a big part of her life and she’ll very much miss it.
“I just love everything about it,” said Manwiller. “I’ve tried many other sports, but I’ve always had a knack for field hockey. It’s the greatest feeling in the world when you walk away from an important win knowing you accomplished something with your teammates.”
Emily is a speech communication major with an emphasis in public relations. After graduation she hopes to work in healthcare as a public relations specialist.