April Stein has visited La Salle University in Philadelphia often enough that she knows most of the school's field hockey players.

Next year she'll join them.

Stein, an Ocean City High School field hockey senior captain, committed to La Salle in May and will play for the Explorers in 2014. The 17-year-old Ocean City resident will receive a partial scholarship that's both athletic and academic.

"La Salle was the third school I visited, but after that I was pretty set on it," Stein said. "I really liked the coaches. They wanted me on their team. It's a great opportunity to play Division I field hockey."

Stein also visited Shippensburg, Montclair State and Delaware.

La Salle was 8-11 overall last year and 3-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Explorers (3-7 this fall), play competitive teams including Rutgers, Penn, Lehigh, Northeastern, St. Joseph's, Massachusetts, Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth.

Stein liked the other aspects of La Salle too.

"I fell in love with the campus," Stein said. "They have great academics. I really liked the fact that there's a wide variety of majors available. I went to some classes and liked the professors. The classrooms had the right number of people. The field hockey team takes classes together."

Stein has plenty to do in the meantime, because she's a key player for Ocean City at midfielder. The Red Raiders will try to win their second state Group III championship in a row.

"April is very dynamic and athletic," Ocean City coach Cory Terry said. "She has been an incredible leader, and a crucial part of our team the last couple years. She always pushes herself. She creates attack and she's huge on distributing the ball. She's a real leader on the field."

One of Stein's future teammates is La Salle freshman Gina Smith, a St. Joseph High School graduate.

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210