Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz
Favorite team: Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Getting to play alongside my sister for two years.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that happened while competing in sports: I tried to climb a very tall fence to get onto a field, fell from the top and ripped my uniform.
Music on mobile device: I listen to a wide variety of music of every genre from country to rap to oldies.
Future plans: Attend The United States Naval Academy and play Division I lacrosse
Words to live by: “Mission first, people always.”
One goal before turning 30: Travel the world
One thing people don’t know about me: I raise dogs for The Seeing Eye (two of which graduated and are current guide dogs).
By Mary Jane Souder
Pat Toner remembers it as if it were yesterday.
Her 15th-seeded and decided underdog Central Bucks South field hockey team battling second-seeded Methacton to a 0-0 tie after regulation and through a riveting overtime when – with five seconds remaining - the unthinkable happened. The Titans, who had managed just two shots, were awarded a penalty stroke.
After some initial confusion, Kasey Dietzel calmly strode to the stroke mark and connected on a shot that propelled the Titans to the electrifying 1-0 win over Methacton in a District One 3A second round contest. It was one of the biggest upsets in program history.
“I’ll remember that for the rest of my life,” said Toner. “I just thought – how in God’s name did we just do that?
“Most people didn’t think we could win, but I’ve been around sports long enough to know anything can happen. We hadn’t made a stroke all season long. We only had two or three and we missed all three. I knew when she stepped up there that was it – she was going to score and she did.”
A loss against Methacton and the Titans’ season would have been over. Only the late heroics of Dietzel as well as the dazzling 19-save save effort of goalie Jillian Heilig saved the day.
The fact that Dietzel - bound for the U.S. Naval Academy to play lacrosse - didn’t flinch in the biggest moment of the season speaks volumes about the senior captain.
“We all looked at (Toner) and she thought it was a corner – she just stuck her hand out and said, ‘You,’ I said, ‘Okay,’” Dietzel said. “I just walked up, I tried not to think too much.
“If I could relive that season and that game, I would in an instant.”
Toner admits that moment is up there with the very best memories in her 40-plus years of coaching, Dietzel can understand why.
“We still talk about it all the time. It was crazy. I still can’t believe it happened,” the Titans’ senior captain said. “We said after that game – you really can accomplish anything. We were underdogs, and we really thought we had no chance of winning, and we did pull through. It was just amazing, such a great feeling.”
Although Dietzel willingly stepped into the spotlight, the senior midfielder would have been just as happy to defer to a teammate.
“We pushed Kasey into much more of a leadership role this season,” Toner said. “She’s a very unselfish kid and player.
“She’s more the kind of person who would rather give you the ball than take it herself, so we really pushed her to be the person who takes the ball more often than not. She stepped up unbelievably and did what we needed her to do when we needed her to do it.”
Field hockey is Dietzel’s second sport but could just as easily been her first. Lacrosse, however, has been the sport of choice for in the Dietzel family. Kasey followed in the footsteps of older siblings Bryn (’12), Devon (’14) and Courtney (’16). All three played lacrosse at South and went on to play at the collegiate level with Bryn continuing her career at Ursinus College while Courtney is playing at Drexel. Devon played club lacrosse at West Chester.
Coming as no surprise, Kasey was an impact player for South’s lacrosse team since she stepped onto the field as a freshman
“She contributes in every aspect of the game,” South coach Janique Craig said. “She’s not just a scorer, she was playing defense on the top opponent, she took our draws, she was in charge of our transitions, she was our top assister.
“She did everything for us. She was such a valuable player on our team, and it wasn’t just the goals and assists she contributed. She’s one of the most unselfish players I have ever coached. She definitely makes everyone around her better.
Kasey Dietzel came by her love of sports honestly. Both of her parents – Bob and Kerry Dietzel – played collegiate sports.
“I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a stick in my hand or a basketball or something,” she said. “I also don’t remember a time when I wasn’t on a team and practicing with my sisters in the backyard.
“I looked up to all of my sisters, so I just really wanted to follow in their footsteps and be an athlete.”
As a youngster, Dietzel initially played lacrosse under the tutelage of her mother for her community team, Bulldogs Lacrosse. By the time she was in fifth grade, Dietzel began playing club for Ultimate Lacrosse, following in the footsteps of her siblings.
“Michele DeJuliis is amazing,” said Dietzel of the club’s founder. “It was great. It was very important both in my character and in my play.
“There are so many great coaches that have helped me along the way and helped me develop as both a person and a player. I’m so grateful for that.”
When it came time to choose a sport to play at the collegiate level, the decision was not an especially difficult one for Dietzel
“I just loved the competitiveness of lacrosse, and I loved playing with my sisters,” she said. “I loved the girls I was with.
“It was just all around a great experience for me, and I knew I wanted to continue on as long as I could.”
Dietzel recently wrapped up a prolific high school career that saw her score 224 goals and assist on 154 others. The Academic All-American also had well over 400 draw controls and was a force at both ends of the field.
“She’s just a natural athlete, and she’s been playing lacrosse for a really, really long time,” Craig said. “She obviously started very young with her sisters and her mother coaching, and I think that gave her a jump on the sport.
“As she got more experienced, she just kept on improving and became one of the top lacrosse plays in the area.”
The decision to continue her lacrosse career at the United States Naval Academy was also a relatively easy one for Dietzel.
“My uncle went to West Point, so I always knew about the academies,” she said. “Once I received interest from the Naval Academy, I went to visit and I instantly fell in love with it – the girls, the experience and everything they have to offer.
“It’s crazy when you go there. You see so many motivated people and people who want to be their best. That’s who I want to surround myself with. I really looked up to every single person I met there. I can’t imagine anything better or anything else I’d rather do.”
Dietzel got a taste of life at the Naval Academy last year when she was accepted into the academy’s Summer Seminar.
“I was lucky to get in,” she said. “I learned so much in that week. Being there, you get to stay over, talk to other midshipmen, go through a day in the life. It got me excited to be there.”
She also got a feel for the academy’s lacrosse program when she attended a camp there.
“I met the coaches and some of the players – I could see myself there 100 percent the first time I went,” said Dietzel. “It’s honestly a dream come true.
“I can’t think of anywhere else I want to be than at the Naval Academy, being coached by (Hall of Fame coach) Cindy Timchal and the staff and playing with all the girls. I’m just so excited.”
An excellent student, Dietzel is a member of South’s National Honors Society. She was a Special Olympics coach, she was involved in MiniThon and Books Beyond Words.
Family has always come first to Dietzel as evidenced by her favorite memory in sports – playing on the same lacrosse team for two years with her sister Courtney.
“We're all extremely close,” Dietzel said. “We all support each other throughout our sports careers. They’re supportive of me going to Navy, and it’s just really amazing seeing how I’m the one going off now.”
Dietzel admits that leaving high school is bittersweet, and she points to the lifelong friendships she’s made as the thing she’ll remember most.
There’s no mistaking the senior captain will be missed by her coaches in both hockey and lacrosse.
“She’s a leader,” Craig said. “Every single person on our team adored her and admired her. No one ever has a bad thing to say about Kasey. She’s just a kind person, and it’s hard to find kids that are truly genuine like that and so unselfish. She was a true teammate to everyone on the field, and she was a phenomenal captain.”
“She’s a good kid from a good family,” Toner said. “She knows right from wrong and gets nothing handed to her.
“That’s a testament to her parents. She works for everything, she earns everything. She’s just that kid you’d not only want on your team, you’d want her as your daughter.”