Northwestern Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Sabrina Mertz (front, center) celebrates her letter of intent signing with her father Steve, mother Joann and brother Dominic. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Sabrina Mertz (front, center) celebrates her letter of intent signing with her father Steve, mother Joann and brother Dominic.

NW's Mertz becomes a Mountain Hawk

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by CHUCK HIXSON tnsports@tnonline.com in HS Sports

Sabrina Mertz was pretty sure Lehigh University was going to be the place for her, and after visiting the campus, she was completely sold. The soccer, basketball and track standout officially became a Mountain Hawk Wednesday when she signed her Letter of Intent to play soccer in Bethlehem next season.

"There were a couple of others, including Marist in New York, but right when I walked on the campus, I knew. I never really thought that there was that thing that you'd get that feeling, but I definitely got it there and I knew that was where I wanted to go," she said.

During her career at Northwestern, Mertz tallied 61 goals and 46 assists for the team and helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back Colonial League and District 11 titles the last two seasons. Mertz also competed in the Olympic Development Program and played club soccer to help her to reach her goal of being recruited to play in college.

Northwestern soccer coach Kelly Bleam, who also teaches at Northwestern, feels Lehigh is a good fit for Mertz and that she'll be able to handle the demands of playing soccer and doing well academically at Lehigh and is proud of both the student and athlete that she has seen in Mertz.

"I'm really proud of her and it's just so pleasing as a coach and a teacher here in the building to see a student-athlete push themselves to the level that she's excelled in soccer and on the court and in track as part of her student life."

At Lehigh, Mertz is slated to be playing as an attacking center-mid, a role that she's comfortable with. She's met the coaches and players and as she did with the school, Mertz immediately felt a connection with them and is looking forward to continuing her soccer career at the next level.

The connection with the people was important, since that's been the driving force behind her high school success.

"When you look back, you also look back on other things, but when it comes down to it, it's really the girls you played with and the coaches who helped you along and taught you everything that you know," said Mertz, who will major in engineering at Lehigh.

Lehigh has a strong engineering program to satisfy Mertz' academic needs and also has an impressive soccer program to meet her athletic needs. With her family being so important to her, the relatively close proximity of the school also meant a lot.

Bleam spoke about Mertz desire to go to Lehigh almost since she was a freshman, but was also proud that she kept an open mind and considered other schools during the process. Wearing her Lehigh University shirt, Mertz spoke glowingly about the school and the opportunities that are ahead of her.

"I couldn't have imagined a better fit," she said. "I'm so excited about being able to go there and spend the next four years there with a great bunch of girls and a great group of coaches as well."