Lana latest Spitler sister to play college soccer
Lana Spitler’s most recent trip to Harrisburg yielded results no Montoursville athlete has ever been fortunate enough to earn.
For her career efforts on the pitch, Spitler last month at the state coaches association awards banquet named to the All-state and All-regional teams. She later signed a letter of intent to attend Division I East Carolina University, becoming the fourth consecutive member of the family to play soccer at the next level.
East Carolina, which is paying 70 percent of Spitler’s tuition, is getting a constant worker, who displays a solid attitude and work ethic. Her most important trait, though, is making those around her better, the true mark of a transcendent athlete.
“I’ve always wanted to go and play at a big college. It’s always been my goal and I’m glad I reached it. It’s really cool,” Spitler said. “I give a lot of credit to my team and my coaches. They push me to be better, and I wouldn’t have got anywhere without them.”
Although Spitler is well aware of the challenge in front of her, it’s still going to take a lot of work. East Carolina completed a 10-7-3 season last year, reaching the Conference USA championship against Tulsa. East Carolina eventually fell, 1-0, in overtime in the championship game.
“It’s important to continue to keep in shape,” Spitler said. “You just have to keep working everyday of the week to get better at what you’re doing.”
Her visit down to ECU was all she needed to know that’s where she wanted to go. Spitler got to spend the night with her future teammates, took in a soccer game and later went with the team to a football game.
Spitler’s love for the game stems from a ridiculous group of athletes she also calls sister.
Kassandra Spitler, who went to Rhode Island, recently participated in her first half marathon in May. Kassandra not only won the Cox Road Race, she set a course record for it.
Marissa just finished her senior season at East Stroudsburg and Brianna is a sophomore at New Hampshire. All three older sisters played soccer at their schools.
When it comes to Montoursville athletics, the Spitler sisters are well known, and all three of the previous ones have been a huge source of support for the youngest of the group.
“My sisters had a big part in it, as well as, my dad,” Spitler said of her initial interest in soccer. “They’ve always pushed me to be better. My dad has always pushed me to keep going and stay positive.”
“It was easy to coach the Spitler girls. It was one of the joys I’ve had over the last 12 years,” Montoursville coach Erin Bennett said. “Their college coaches they go on to play for are really getting a good deal.”
Spitler will be the perfect addition to any team she joins. Besides pure athletic ability, Spitler seemed to get the entire picture, spending the offseason working toward improving her already solid game.
“She always made it a high priority to put the team first,” Bennett said. “There was never an event, a practice or a summer session she missed.”
Once on the field for regular season games, Spitler’s abilities were on full display.
In four years at Montoursville, Spitler posted multiple hat tricks, led her team in scoring, won district titles and received All-state and All-regional honors.
“She spent a lot of time traveling and playing in tournaments, but that never came in front of the high school team,” Bennett said. “She always made it a point to make it clear to the team and me that it was her main passion. She did all that other stuff to better herself.”
But, as important as those awards and accomplishments were, Spitler’s true greatness shined through her teammates. It was easy to see the passion she played with, and how teammates like Carly Mill and Taylor Eshbach would feed off that intensity.
She wasn’t the most vocal player on the pitch. It was her work ethic and motivation that kept teammates energized. She was a tenacious player, who rarely got outworked on the pitch. And even when things weren’t going her way, like this year’s early exit from the postseason, you’d never know by looking at her.
And those types of examples, set by Spitler and her family, will have a lasting effect on Mountoursville with little doubt of becoming a deeply rooted part of the Warrior’s soccer legacy.
“All four girls always set a good example for all the other players, which is why our program was as successful as it was,” Bennett said. “I never had to ask them to work harder, or do anything better. They just really gave it all their effort.”