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Shaler lacrosse players choose colleges

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Neeley Regan makes her college decision official when she signed with St. Leo University.
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Shaler's Steph Fleming along with coach Jen Perestock and mother Carla Schmitt pose just after signing Fleming's National Letter of Intent. Fleming will play lacrosse and study at St. Francis this coming season.

While the Shaler girls lacrosse team is gaining notoriety locally with a couple of WPIAL championships, the program is getting some attention from across the east coast as colleges are clamoring for the services of many of the Shaler players.

Recently, Neeley Regan signed with St. Leo University in Florida, and teammate Steph Fleming signed with St. Francis (Pa.).

“St. Leo is about 30 miles north of Tampa,” Regan said. “It’s a really great lacrosse program even though it is fairly new, and they won some academic awards for their sports business major, which is what I will be going for.”

Regan said she liked the coaches at St. Leo and that former Robert Morris assistant Megan Nutter is on staff at St. Leo.

“I knew her from the RMU Colonial Classic,” Regan said. “I remember (Thiel University coach) and seeing her on the sidelines, I tried to show off, and and a few weeks later (St. Leo contacted me).

Regan set up a visit and was wowed by the technology of the school and the way she clicked with the people she met there. While the distance from home was a bit of a drawback, Regan said she dos have some family near the St. Leo area.

While the arduous process was nerve-wracking for the senior, she had a lot of fun visiting different schools and seeing what they had to offer. She missed a lot of school and had to keep up with her work, but she is glad to have a new home and focus on the season ahead.

“It just feels really good,” Regan said. “It was almost a two-year process. I am glad it is done. Now I can focus on this season and not have to worry if a coach is coming to a certain game.”

Regan credits her coach, Jen Perestock.

“Neeley has been a hard working player since her freshman year,” Perestock said. “I know she will work her tail off.

“Neeley was very highly recruited and had DI and DII offers. I am happy for her, she is going to a very good school.”

Perestock added that Regan is the kind of player who always goes above and beyond.

“Her story is that hard work pays off,” Perestock said. “You mix her talent with her work ethic, and she will be unstoppable.”

“Without her, I would not be the player I am,” Regan said. “I was a little scared and nervous coming up, but once I started getting involved is some of the extra camps, (Perestock) helped me grow. It was a lot of wall ball to get better, and she was very helpful through the whole process.”

Fleming will be staying a bit closer to home, and proximity was a big factor in her decision.

“It will be awesome knowing I will have family and friends at each game to cheer me on,” Fleming said. “They have my major, nursing, which is another reason it was a good fit.”

Perestock added that St. Francis saw Fleming’s defensive skill and is something they valued in her.

“Steph anticipates passes really well, and is a good communicator,” Perestock said. “She is athletic and a great leader. Both Steph and Neeley were captains last year, and are great leaaders.”

Fleming said the process of finding a school and meeting all sorts of people can be awkward, but the feeling of having her decision made alleviates much stress.

“I would not have played in college if not for Jen,” Regan said. “She got on me and helped me with everything.”

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