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Knoch’s Hull to continue academic, soccer career at Penn State Behrend

Knoch senior Laurel Hull, flanked by parents Tim and Hope Hull, signs a letter of intent to continue her academic and soccer career at Penn State Behrend. Looking on are siblings Easton, left, and Gretta. Submitted Photo
Heading north

JEFFERSON TWP — Laurel Hull is willing to play just about any position on the soccer field.

But when it came to choosing a college, the Knoch senior knew precisely where she wanted to go.

“My family has a deep history with Penn State,” Hull said. “I wanted to wind up in that system someplace.”

Hull recently signed a letter of intent to continue her academic and soccer career at Penn State Behrend. She plans to major in biomedical engineering.

“When I saw how successful the soccer program has been up there and it has a strong program in my major, Behrend became a no-brainer for me,” Hull said. “I looked briefly at Kent State, but I knew where I wanted to go.”

Behrend was 13-5-2 last season under coach Patrick O’Driscoll, who’s guided the team to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title game 13 times in his 15 seasons there. The Lions have made 12 appearances in the NCAA Division III national tournament during O’Driscoll’s tenure.

Seneca Valley graduate Mia Zec had five goals and 20 assists for Behrend last season and has 20 career goals with the Lions.

“Behrend is a highly successful program and the school is a good for her,” Knoch girls soccer coach Greg Hess said of Hull. “She can play so many different positions and she’s an intelligent player.

“Laurel is always in the right spot, knows how to anticipate the play. She’s a big-time team player, which is why I think she’ll get on the field at Behrend quickly.”

Hull primarily played center-defensive midfield and center-back for the Knights. She has experience at numerous other spots.

Hull said she figures to play center-back at Behrend, as that’s where she played for Steel City SC, her travel soccer club, as well.

“I’ll play anywhere, but I have gotten comfortable there,” she said of playing center-back. “But, honestly, I don’t have a preference. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do.”

Despite playing defense for much of her high school career, Hull scored seven goals and added three assists in four years with the Knights.

“Her strength is the way she can control the ball,” Hess said. “Laurel can dribble the ball past people. She’s a quick thinker and she’s very quick with the ball. That’s a great combination.”

A soccer player since age 4, Hull runs track and field for Knoch as well. She competes in sprints, distance running and jumps.

She toyed with the idea of doing both sports in college, “but I didn’t want to take on too much. My academics have to come first.”

Hull is one of five seniors from Knoch’s 2023 girls soccer team who are moving on to play in college.

“We’re pretty proud of that,” Hess said. “ ”We have a lot of competitive girls in our program who want to keep playing.“

“Our soccer team has a family-like feel to it,” Hull said. “I loved playing for Knoch.”

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