East Central University head soccer coach Riley Bailey has announced the signing of seven new student-athletes for the 2014 edition of the Lady Tigers.
“This is definitely an exciting group we've been able to put together,” said Bailey. “We addressed some immediate needs that have been a struggle the past couple of years, and I look for them all to come in and help raise the level of competitiveness on the field.”
Katie Herrin comes to ECU from San Bernardino Valley College, where she helped the Wolverines to a 31-6-7 record in two seasons and two straight Foothill Conference Championships. Along the way, Herrin was named to the All-Foothill Conference Second Team in 2013 and was an honorable mention in 2012. As a sophomore she scored eight goals, including two game winners, and added five assists.
“Katie has all the necessary skills to excel at this level,” said Bailey. “She's got great technical ability, and her speed definitely gives defenders extra worry. I'm excited to add her to the mix and think she'll have a positive impact from the start.”
Megan Lantrip joins the Lady Tigers after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Cisco College, where she led the team to a 23-9-4 record. While with the Lady Wranglers, she earned all-conference, all-district and all-region honors both seasons. Lantrip tallied four goals and added an assist in 36 matches for Cisco College, earning 27 starts.
“Megan gives our midfield a boost right from the start,” stated Bailey. “She's crafty with the ball and has a great vision of the field. At the same time, she's able to provide the strong defensive presence you've got to have in the middle, and it will be fun to get her into the mix.”
Sammie Smith was a four-year member of the Wakeland High School varsity team. She helped the Wolverines to three 4A District titles and a runner-up finish. During her time as a prep, she earned all-district second team and honorable mention honors and was the team captain her final three seasons. Smith is also a standout in the classroom, earning 2014 Academic All-State Soccer honors, and was a member of the National Honor Society and the treasurer of the National Technical Honor Society.
“Sammie is an exciting midfield player to watch,” Bailey commented. “She loves to get forward and create great goal-scoring chances for her teammates. She provides consistency every day, and her teammates are drawn to that leadership and never-say-die attitude.”
Amber Tiger was a two-year member of the TSCH 96 Bolding Club Soccer Team that earned OPL Championship titles for two straight seasons. In her final season with the team, she tallied three goals and added eight assists. She also participated in cross country and track and field at Bixby High School, where she was an individual qualifier for the Oklahoma State Championships.
“Amber is a big, physical defender that has a pace that makes her a great outside back,” added Bailey. “She loves to challenge and win the ball, then immediately look to move forward in the attack and help create scoring opportunities. She'll definitely bolster our defensive group and will challenge for playing time from day one.”
Peyton Vanlandingham was a two-sport athlete at Owasso High School, while also participating in track and field. As a sophomore in the soccer program, she earned academic all-conference honorable mention honors. She was also a member of the National Honor Society.
“Peyton is one of those all-around great athletes that we'll be able to utilize is several places,” Bailey said. “She has great pace and can really be dangerous on the outside of the field, either from a defender position or a wide midfield player. I'm excited to have her as a part of things here at ECU.”
JuliAnne Williamson has been a four-year letter winner on the varsity soccer team at Noble High School, where she helped the Bears to four consecutive state tournament appearances. As a junior, she helped the team to a district championship and a quarterfinalist in the Oklahoma State Tournament. The 2014 All-Oklahoma State honoree tallied a total of 66 goals in her career, including 20 as a senior. Williamson also claimed all-district honors as a junior and sophomore.
“JuliAnne is a goal scorer,” Bailey commented. “She has a natural ability to be in the right place at that right time and finish the ball. She is always working and looking for space to make herself dangerous. It will be exciting to throw her into the mix and see what she can do over the next few years.”
Summer Witt helped Verdigris High School to four straight Oklahoma State Championship titles in 4A and was named to the all-district team all four seasons with the Cardinals. Witt has tallied 50 goals in her prep career, including 20 goals and 26 assists as a senior.
“Summer loves to take players on and create up top,” added Bailey. “She has a great ability to finish her chances and is always dangerous around the goal. She will definitely benefit our program with her drive and passion to succeed on the field.”
“As excited as I am about their abilities on the field, more importantly these ladies have separated themselves in the classroom and have excelled in their studies,” Bailey stated. “They will help continue the ECU soccer tradition of great student-athletes who succeed on and off the field.”