Leitner just misses National Team cut


Former goalie made it to final tryouts after stellar senior season


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Recent graduate Emily Leitner was one of four goaltenders to earn a spot at the U.S. National Team tryouts after a stellar senior season in which she started all 17 games, made 127 saves, and posted a 9.44 goals-against average.

Photo by Andrew Dierkes


Sometimes the overall experience trumps the final result.

That’s how former Penn goaltender Emily Leitner feels after advancing to the final round of tryouts for the U.S. National Lacrosse team but, in the end, failing to make the team.

“It’s a weekend of the highest level of lacrosse, and I thought everyone there were all excellent players,” Leitner said. “Unfortunately, they only have 36 spots.”

The final round of trials was held in Baltimore over the weekend. In total, four goalies made the cut, but the team will carry just two when it competes for the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup in 2013.

Three of the four goalies who were selected had previously played on the national team. Leitner, who graduated in the spring, knew going in that the competition was going to be very tough.

“It was the best of the best,” she said. “I thought I went out and tried my best and played pretty well and put out a good effort, and in the end it didn’t work out.”

Leitner had also moved on to the last stage of tryouts last year, with the same results.

But with the World Cup being held next summer, the next opportunity to earn a spot on the team won’t be for another two years. As of now, Leitner is not sure she’ll go for it a third time.

“It’s hard to see where I’ll be in two years. If I’m in a position to try out again, why not?” she remarked. “But I can barely think a week ahead in my schedule, let alone two years ahead, so we’ll see what happens.”

So what’s up next for the former Quaker?

She’s not going to leave the sport “cold turkey” — the Connecticut native intends on playing in a few summer leagues with her cousin and fellow Penn alumnae.

“I plan on doing that for as long as I can, because those are just fun, playing with old teammates and kind of just playing a sport you love,” Leitner said. “I don’t know how intense it will end up being but it’ll be fun, so that’s kind of my plan right now.”

In the meantime, she’ll also be encouraging more Penn players to go out for the national team. In the past, not many have gone through the process, but Leitner hopes that will change.

“I think most of the team should try out. I think more and more will, hopefully, throughout the years,” she said. “If they ever have any questions, I’ll always be there. But everyone should go out for it. There’s really no harm in it — you just get better.”

The process certainly helped Leitner improve — she went from a second-team All-Ivy selection as a junior to a unanimous first-team choice this past season. This time, she won’t be able to go back to the Quakers and show how much she’s progressed, but she’s still happy she tried.

“I gave it my best shot, and I would’ve regretted it if I didn’t try out — always had that ‘what if’ factor,” she said. “It was something I wanted to do and I’m glad I did it.”

Simply put, Leitner has no regrets.

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