BY Dennis Glade
---- — Washington Catholic High School prides itself on having a family atmosphere in and out of the classroom, but none of the Cardinals athletic teams embody this trait quite like the girls soccer team led by coach Kelly Neace.
The 2013 Cardinals, which stands with a record of 5-1-3 has three sets of sisters playing significant minutes this season. The Taylors (Kendra and Laura), Jarretts (Gracen and Claire) and the Smiths (Morgan and Christina) have made the Lady Cardinals a family affair.
Morgan Smith, the only senior of the group takes great pride in playing along with her sister, Christina, a freshman, on a daily basis. The ups and downs that comes with a sibling relationship doesn’t faze Morgan when it comes to meshing on the field. With this being her final year at Washington Catholic, Morgan wants to make the best out of this season in her final chance to play on a team with her sister and take advantage of the obvious communication the two possess together.
“We are three years apart and since I was a little girl and she was a little girl we’ve been playing soccer together,” Morgan Smith said. “In middle school I believe we had to recruit fifth graders to play — we’ve pretty much been playing my whole life, so I’m used to it. She’s (Christina Smith) really fast so she’s a forward and I’m a midfielder so I always look for her to get a goal — we work together really well on the field.”
Through playing throughout her life with her younger sister Laura, sophomore Kendra Taylor thinks that all the years of one-one-one communication with her sister has helped this season and will continue make the Cardinals a better team going forward. The communication between family members especially siblings who are close in age can help when it comes to chemistry and communication on the field.
“We all get along and having siblings helps, because we already know half the team, so it’s easier than what most people would think,” Kendra Taylor said.
The Taylors have welcomed an exchange student, senior Vibeke Salmelid from Norway into their home and onto the girls soccer team, which adds a different dynamic to the team. Salmelid is a talented player who has been able to bring her experiences dealing with team chemistry to Washington Catholic.
“I think it makes the communication even better, because we know each other so well — I think it’s a very positive thing,” Salmelid said. “I really like playing with people I already know. I think it can be both a good thing and a bad thing — it’s obviously a good thing, because we know what each other are thinking out on the field, but it can also be a bad thing, because you can get too attached to your sister and only play with the people you know the most. Overall it’s been good and I like having a lot of sisters.”
An underrated aspect of siblings playing on the same team together is the ability to be brutally honest by offering constructive criticism to teammates without creating any rift throughout the team. Sophomore Gracen Jarrett said this is essential when dealing with her sister, freshman Claire. In any team dynamic, criticism can be a touchy subject given the emotions that come with being around the same individuals on a daily basis for months at a time.
“Yeah usually I can be like,’Hey Claire, you need to work on this’ and she understands and she can do the same to me,” Gracen Jarrett said.
Despite the emotions of a high school soccer team, Neace said every member of the Cardinals have the team in mind everyday and everybody has bought into the team goals, which has given the Cardinals a great start to the season as well as a bright future for the program as a whole.
“They want their sisters to succeed as much as they do, and they push each other,” Neace said. “What is really nice is they can be on opposite teams and have that competition, but as soon as they’re done, they are in the car together going out to eat and it’s all sisterly.”