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Indians’ Hough headed to Hofstra for field hockey

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    Karissa Hough of Lehighton signs her Letter of Intent to attend Hofstra University to continue her field hockey career. Joining Karissa for the signing were her parents Willis (front, left) and Pamela (front, right), along with Lehighton assistant field hockey coach JoAnn Schoenberger (back, left) and Lehighton head field hockey coach Vanessa Rimbey (back, right). For a video, visit BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Published November 15. 2019 12:28PM

Karissa Hough had dreamed of the moment for as long as she could remember.

The Lehighton senior made it a reality on Wednesday when she announced her commitment to continue her academic and field hockey career at Division 1 Hofstra University.

“This is a really important day for me,” said Hough. “I’ve been looking forward to playing in college ever since middle school. It’s been a goal for me, so signing today has just been a great feeling to achieve that goal, and to move on, and to continue playing for another four years.

“I’m looking forward to my time at Hofstra. The team has definitely improved. There’s a lot of energy that they’re creating, and they’re looking to take the program farther in the next couple years. So I have a lot to look forward to.”

Hough was a sparkplug for the Indians. She led the team with 17 goals and four assists this past season as Lehighton made it to the District 11 Class 1A semifinals, before falling to top seed Moravian Academy.

As a junior, Hough tallied eight goals and four assists to help the Indians capture their first district title since 2010.

The team MVP each of the past two seasons, Hough has led by example with her relentless work ethic.

“It’s very exciting,” said Lehighton head coach Vanessa Rimbey. “Not only is it exciting for her, it’s exciting for the underclassmen to see the opportunities they could have, and to see all the hard work that she puts in on and off the field – during the season, outside of the season – and see that it pays off. Dreams can come true.”

Hough also plays for the Marojoka Hockey Club out of Whitehall, something that has helped her become a more well-rounded player.

“The club team has definitely gotten me more exposure at tournaments to many college coaches, which has been extremely helpful,” said Hough. “And learning a lot more from club hockey, combined with my high school experience, has really helped my development a lot.”

Hough has never been too hard to find on the field, whether it was leading drills during practice, or when she scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second half of the Indians’ in a 2-1 victory over Susquenita in the first round of the state playoffs a year ago.

“They’re going to have to step up,” Rimbey said of her underclassmen. “We’re going to have to get some future Karissa Houghs. But she’s a picture perfect example for our younger players to follow. She’s definitely a standout.”

Hough took her time during the recruiting process, selecting Hofstra over Division 1 schools Lafayette College, Saint Francis University and Rider University, as well as several Division 2 and Division 3 schools.

“I definitely was concerned about academics. I’m in the top 10% in the class, so it’s a really big deal for me,” said Hough, who noted that half of her scholarship will come via athletic means in addition to receiving a substantial amount of academic support. “I wasn’t choosing Hofstra just based off the field hockey program. I wasn’t looking to go to a big athletic school. It was important that I was getting academics first.

“ I want to go into biology, and Hofstra has a great program. I got the chance to visit with the coaches, and they gave me a tour of the school, and I absolutely loved the campus, and the atmosphere there.”

Hofstra is the perfect fit for Hough, who is continuing Lehighton’s impressive tradition of sending players to the next level in field hockey.

“I remember when I was younger, I always looked up to the players coming out of Lehighton that went on to play at big, Division 1 schools,” she said. “And now that I am one of those players, and I know there are a lot of younger girls that look up to me. It’s just a great feeling.

“Lehighton has definitely made me an amazing player. There are so many coaches that I have worked with that have made me such an outstanding player, and I’m really thankful for them, and I’m thankful for my family for being such a huge part of this and supporting me through it all.”

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