Manchester Valley girls lacrosse star Emma Penczek, The Baltimore Sun 2023 All-Metro girls lacrosse Player of the Year, has verbally committed to play her college lacrosse at Clemson University.
Penczek, who will play her junior season this spring, was rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2025 and top midfielder by Inside Lacrosse. She announced her commitment via social media Wednesday night and confirmed the news to the Carroll County Times.
“It was honestly an instant feeling,” she said. “As soon as I stepped on campus I fell in love immediately. It is the best fit for me.”
Penczek posted a picture on Instagram of her wearing a Clemson jersey, tagging the program and declaring herself a member of their Class of 2029 saying “#allin” with purple and orange hearts.
Penczek led Manchester Valley to an undefeated season and the Class 2A state championship in the spring, which garnered her attention from several top Division I programs including Maryland, North Carolina and Syracuse.
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Penczek finished her sophomore season with 93 goals and 43 assists, including nine goals in the state championship game against Middletown, which tied a state record. She also established herself as a complete player, winning 129 draw controls and causing 37 turnovers.
“She sees the field well, she’s athletic, she’s fast,” Manchester Valley coach Shelly Brezicki said. “Emma can put the ball on the back of the net, but she can also stop people on defense.”
With Emma’s commitment, she joins Maryvale Prep’s Tess DeLucia as local products in Clemson’s 2025 recruiting class. A pipeline from Maryland to the Atlantic Coast Conference school has been established in recent years. The program’s roster currently boasts 11 Maryland high school graduates, including freshman attack and 2023 Century graduate Jasmine Stanton.
That being the case, Penczek said the local ties didn’t factor in to her choice.
“It really didn’t affect my decision at all,” she said. “It is a bonus that so many of the girls are from Maryland or even Carroll County.”
With such a huge decision already being made at the midpoint of her high school career, Penczek can now focus on the remainder of her time as a Maverick. Set to spearhead Manchester Valley’s title defense, she also looks forward to basketball in the winter and well as the rest of her soccer season.
“It feels like a whole bunch of weight is lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “I can just focus on school and being a junior in high school.”