By Merle Bertrand, Sportswriter
Although she has yet to decide where she’ll attend college after graduating from Liberty Hill High School this spring, senior Stephanie Metzger plans on earning an MBA and/or a law degree. Perhaps she’ll work for a federal agency, she indicated, singling out the Sandra Bullock action-comedy Miss Congeniality as an example of one possible career choice.
Talented as she is, it’s doubtful that Ms. Bullock can do what Miss Metzger has done on both the volleyball and basketball courts for the Lady Panthers. A three year varsity volleyball player for Head Coach Gretchen Peterson and a four year varsity basketball player for Head Coach Matt Kirschner, Metzger is a key component of this year’s state-ranked Lady Panthers.
Although the Fairfax, Virginia native admits that volleyball is her favorite of the two sports, Metzger is savoring her experience on Coach Kirschner’s close-knit group of Runnin’ Panthers.
“Half of the reason why I like basketball so much is because of the team I’m on. Just because they’re all my really close friends,” Metzger explained. “We all sit together at lunch, we all go into each other’s classrooms, we’re just like a team of best friends.”
Born on January 17 to Judy and Alex Metzger, Stephanie Lynn Metzger is the eldest of three daughters. Younger sister Madelyn (“Maddie,” 16) is a LHHS junior and teammate, while youngest sister Allison (13) is an eighth-grader at Liberty Hill Junior High School.
With the anticipation high for such a talented, senior-laden team, Metzger acknowledged a certain sense of urgency surrounding the Lady Panthers.
“There’s a lot of extra pressure,” she admitted. “I don’t think it’s really settled in that last night (Feb. 17) could have been our last game or next Tuesday (Feb. 21) could be. We don’t really think about that until we’re about to go on the court.
“I think we use it more as motivating, than freaking out,” Metzger continued. “We think about it but we don’t think on it that much. We just try to think of it as another game, just another win.”
A country music fan who lists Luke Bryan, Josh Turner, and Miranda Lambert as her favorite artists, Metzger enjoys playing sports and watching college sports. Her favorite food is Mexican, which makes sense, given that her favorite dish is her mom’s macaroni and cheese…with jalapeno sausage.
Metzger was awarded Academic All-State honors her senior volleyball season and Academic All-District all three years she played varsity volleyball. She was also a First Team All-District honoree both her junior and senior seasons.
In addition, Metzger was named Academic All-District all four years she’s played basketball for LHHS, and earned the President’s Award for Academic Excellence.
Such athletic and academic success has, not surprisingly, caught the attention of colleges. Metzger has been accepted by all of the nearly twenty colleges to which she’s applied and has received academic scholarship offers from all of them. Most notable of these offers is the President’s Gold Scholarship to Baylor and acceptance to the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at Howard Payne University.
She has also been offered three NCAA DII volleyball scholarships and five DIII volleyball scholarships.
“I don’t know where I’m going,” sighed Metzger, who will graduate with 30 college credit hours from ACC and will most likely be considered a sophomore at whatever college she ultimately decides to attend. “Every time I think that I’m going somewhere, something better comes along.”
Fortunately, Metzger still has some time to make that decision. It’s time that she plans on using to savor the unique experience of having her sister, Maddie, as a teammate.
“I really like it,” Metzger (probably grudgingly) admitted. “I mean, at first it’s kind of like, you have to do everything with your sister, you know? Sometimes you want space, but I have grown to really like it.
“I think, especially now, it’s a really cool experience to be able to have with her. And it’s sad, because it’s my last year that I’ll ever be playing with her.”
It should come as no surprise to those who know them, that Stephanie and Maddie have a certain unspoken communication on the court.
“We’ve been playing together probably ever since I’ve been in high school,” Metzger explained. “We’ll be playing outside and shooting and we just make up these stupid little plays that we know we could never do in a game, but sometimes I’ll throw it into her and run on the inside and she’ll pass it to me just because we’ve practiced at home.”
Metzger and her teammates have provided plenty of thrills for Liberty Hill fans over her four years on both the volleyball and basketball courts. Like her teammates, the senior standout appreciates the support the Lady Panthers have received from students and the community alike.
“It’s awesome!” she exclaimed. “Both with basketball and volleyball, we’ve gotten a lot of fan support. We got way more in volleyball this year than I ever expected, and basketball, we always get people there, no matter who we’re playing, even traveling games.
“I went to a college visit and watched a basketball game and they didn’t even have half the fans that we have and I just thought it was crazy because we’re just high school. So it’s crazy. I love it!”
In the same vein, Metzger also acknowledged the personal support she’s received from her family and the Liberty Hill community.
“I thank my parents, for sure. But I’d like to thank my mom for always being there through thick and thin, my sister for being there for me on and off the court, and our fans, ‘cause they’re awesome and we wouldn’t be where we are without them!”
Metzger’s friends have long-noted the dimple she’s had on her right cheek since she was born.
“My family likes to tell me it was from my brother kissing me on his way to heaven,” Metzger recounted. “He was sixteen months old and passed away on the date I was due to be born. I was born in the early morning of the day of his funeral. My parents had to leave the hospital shortly after my birth to say their final goodbye to him.
“I imagine it was the happiest sad day they’ve ever known.”
When you enter the world under circumstances like that and grow up with that knowledge as Stephanie Metzger did, it must provide a certain perspective for everything that happens later in life.
Given her athletic and academic achievements, combined with her career choice plans and that unique life perspective, one would not be at all surprised to see the future’s equivalent of a Sandra Bullock starring in a movie based on the life of one Stephanie Lynn Metzger.