BY BILLY LIGGETT, PHOTO BY BILLY LIGGETT
Like many sisters do, Ashley and Marissa Hartert fought nonstop when they were younger — each too competitive to let the other win.
“We would always do everything together like working out and running,” said Ashley, who is 15 months older. “I remember we would literally try to trip each other so that one person wouldn’t finish before the other.”
Today, the two are best friends who share a unique bond that was brought together by playing soccer for Campbell.
“Being at the same school has been a huge factor in bringing them closer together,” said their mother, Lisa. “Marissa said to me one of the first weekends we came to visit, ‘regardless of the soccer, this is the best decision I’ve made — to be with Ashley. I’d never want to give that up.’”
Although there have been several sisters who have played soccer for Campbell at one time or another, even in back-to-back years, Ashley and Marissa are the only sisters who have ever played Campbell soccer together. But that wasn’t always their plan.
“We played on the same team when we were young, in elementary school, but not again until we were in high school,” explained Ashley, who is a junior studying communications. “Then when we went to college, we went different directions but ended up at the same place.”
Both graduated a semester early from Marvin High School — Ashley in December 2010 and Marissa one year later in December of 2011. Ashley, who plays forward, went on to the University of Tennessee, where she suffered injuries her freshman year and took a redshirt. Marissa, who plays midfield, was recruited by Mercer University. The sisters transferred to Campbell to get more time on the field.
Not only does playing on the same team allow the sisters to challenge one another to become better players, it also challenges their friendship, and makes it stronger. Although the pair only has one class together, after accounting for soccer, studying and the occasional meal together, the sisters spend an average of 10 hours together each day, and that is just when they are in the same location.
“We are constantly texting each other,” said Marissa, the younger of the two who is a sophomore studying pre-pharmacy. “If we’re not texting each other, we’re in a group text together. We don’t live together, but even then, sometimes she sleeps at my place.”
Teammates like junior Alexis Prada enjoy the dynamic that the duo brings to the team.
“They’re best friends and it works with the team because their personalities are completely opposite so they balance out the team and compliment each other,” Prada said. “If I had a sister that I was playing with, I think it would be awesome. There would be no greater joy than sharing something we truly love, and I think they would agree with that.”
The Harterts definitely do agree.
“My biggest soccer memory was in high school winning the state championship, and she was part of that,” Ashley said. “My favorite thing about being on the same team is having Marissa be in the memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”