The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

November 11, 2013

Women's soccer: Former Valley stars meet in SEC

(Continued)

The former Midd-West Mustang has two goals and four assists this season, with two of those assists coming in the team's big win over Central Florida.

"I love it (at Tennessee)," Landis said by phone. "It's a perfect fit for me. I was a little unsure at first. I really liked West Virginia. I wanted to go (play) closer to home. But the coaches here are incredible. It's like family."

Moving from the ACC to the SEC has been an adjustment for Spade. The ACC has long been home to the best women's soccer in the country -- four of the top five teams in the nation right now are from the ACC.

"The ACC is a lot more crafty and the SEC is more physical," she says. "I think our coach (Brian Pensky) -- he came from (the ACC's) Maryland -- he's doing a phenomenal job. He likes to play crafty and pass the ball, keep the ball -- possession style. It works well."

Both Landis and Spade were stars on their high school teams beginning with their freshman years, but they also honed their game by going out of the area to play club soccer. Spade suited up for FC Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, while Landis competed with the Hershey Attack. FC Pennsylvania won a club national title last year, and Landis' club team has competed in national tournaments as well.

That level of competition got both players ready for the collegiate game.

"The biggest adjustment would probably be the speed of play," Landis says. "The competition is very intense and physical, so you need to be quick with your reactions and know exactly what you need to do beforehand. It's so crazy how much film you watch and how much information you get on your opponents. It's amazing how much it helps to get a visual of what you need to do on the field."

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