Methacton’s Steele signs on with Duke

It’s only fitting that Methacton’s Sammi Steele wants to study visual arts in college.

Her career at Methacton was just that — a work of art.

Having a flair for the dramatic save, the National U-19 member and Methacton cage-minder recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play field hockey at Duke University, joining a bevy of local athletes that have given rise to a national contender.

“I was looking for a school that would challenge me both athletically and academically,’ Steele said. “I felt that Duke offered everything that I was looking for. It was a blend of strong academics and it has a highly successful field hockey program, I loved it.’

Steele was also considering Princeton and Northwestern but chose to sign at Duke where she will major in the visual arts and will focus on graphic design.

“All the schools looked great but the way the years of the goalies were at Duke worked out best for me,’ Steele said. “It was just a better fit for me to go there.’

What Duke gains is one of the premier goalies in recent PAC-10 memory.

The netminder finished her senior season with a 91.4 save percentage, tops in the PAC-10, while recording a mind-boggling 10 shutouts for a team that advanced to the District 1-AAA first round for the fourth time in her career.

Steele produced six games of 10 or more saves and provided an astounding 23-save effort in a last-second loss to Phoenixville midway through the season.

In a junior season where she earned All-State honors, Steele and Methacton clinched the No. 2 seed in the Liberty Division due in large part to her stopping 87-percent of shots faced, saving 200 of 229 shots. The keeper posted two games with 20 or more saves and registered seven shutouts, including three straight against Spring-Ford, Boyertown and Pottstown the week of Sept. 11.

Steele also earned First Team All-PAC-10 honors in 2013 and 2014. But it was her first shutout against Owen J. Roberts her sophomore season that reigned supreme of her Methacton memories.

“I had a pulled muscle and everyone was giving high-fives after we won. By the time I got down there I missed the celebration, I think I got two high-fives during that time. It was great though beating OJR. It was a moment I won’t forget.’

Steele joins a Duke team that features two local athletes in Heather Morris (Owen J. Roberts) and Alyssa Chillano (Spring-Ford). The Blue Devils finished 13-7 this season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina, 3-0. Under head coach Pam Bustin, the Blue Devils have seen increased success, as Bustin led the team to its first National Championship appearance since 2005 a season ago.

But one of the more attractive aspects of joining the Duke program was the chance to learn under senior keeper Lauren Blazing, who has provided the team with a 38-23 record while racking up 10 shutouts and a .761 save percentage.

“I’m really excited to see Heather, Alyssa and all of my new teammates down there,’ Steele said. “All the girls are close-knit and I’m looking to join in on that and really learn from them and Lauren.’

“I just want to make an impact during my time there. The more I can learn my freshman year, the better.’

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