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Girls lacrosse: Sister-sister times six at Hereford

They finish each other's sentences, laugh before one gets to a joke's punch line, cheer extra hard and give honest critiques after a game — all in one big happy family on the Hereford High lacrosse team.

They are six sets of sisters, including two sets of twins, on a team that has posted a 12-3 record and helped the Bulls advance to the Class 3A-2A North Region title game May 16.

Senior twins Jessica and Corey Karwacki, junior twins Caitlin and MC Abbott, senior Alyssa and junior Alex Gianotti, senior Rennie and sophomore Hana Tankersley, senior Bri and freshman Maria Collacchi and junior Caroilne and freshman Emily May are the siblings boosting the Bulls this spring.

"They all get along," Hereford coach Anne Ensor said. "I think when you have that many siblings, it can be great or it can be horrible, but everybody gets along. The only thing I've every heard them discuss is. 'Who is going to drive?'"

Although none are the team's top scorers — that honor belongs to junior Mac Lange (30 goals, 10 assists) and Jessica Wojciechowski (26 goals, 15 assists), several sisters have been key contributors.

Midfielder Jessica Karwacki leads team with 102 draw controls and twin Corey has chipped in 11 goals and 15 assists. Jessica's ability on the draws against Dulaney was instrumental in a 12-5 rout of the Lions last month.

Caroline May has seven goals and nine assists and Bri Collacchi is tied for the team lead in ground balls with Lange (15 each), while leading in caused turnovers (13).

Collacchi starts on defense with Rennie Tankersley, Emily May and Caitlin Abbott, a group that has combined for 22 caused turnovers.

Beyond the numbers, the siblings say that playing on the same squad has made many magical family memories they will preserve for a lifetime.

Caitlin and MC Abbott

Although MC is the backup goalie, her twin can sympathize with her plight, because she was in a similar role as a sophomore on the varsity field hockey team.

"My sophomore year, I didn't play at all on the field hockey team and she played a ton," Caitlin said. "I was a little upset that I wasn't playing, but I was so proud of her. It made me a better player watching her and seeing what she did."

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, she understands.

"It's hard (not playing), but we're there for each other," Caitlin said.

The girls started together on the junior varsity lacrosse as freshmen, noting in unison, "That was awesome," and moved up to varsity last season together.

"I like her twin telepathy," MC said. "I just like knowing you can trust that person. You don't know exactly what they are going to do, but you do have a good feeling because you have been playing together so long."

"We know each other's habits," Caitlin added.

"We are always driving together and share the same car, so we spend a lot of time together," MC said.

They share a common goal of playing Division I field hockey in college — possibly together.

Jessica and Corey Karwacki

It's a good thing the Karwacki twins are going to the same college (Robert Morris University) because they know each other's jokes will never bomb.

"We were telling jokes the other day and Jessica started to tell a joke and Corey was laughing hysterically before the joke was even finished," Ensor said. "She knew what was going to happen."

When they are not giggling, Jessica has no trouble defending her twin.

"Jessica takes up for Corey all the time in a very cute, appropriate way," Ensor said. "It's really nice and they really look out for each other."

"I will ask her (Jessica) what I did wrong or what I need to fix and she'll tell me," Corey said. "For someone else, it would be like, 'You're doing fine,' but she will actually tell you the truth."

The truth hurt during Jessica's sophomore lacrosse season when she found out she had a stress fracture in her tibia and was forced to missed the season.

"It stinks when one is playing and the other is on the bench," said Jessica, who watched the following season when Corey missed the beginning of lacrosse season with a stress fracture in the tibia of her opposite leg.

They were together again this season and provided at least one lasting memory.

"We did a give-and-go," Corey said. "She got the draw and passed it to me and I passed it back — and she got the goal."

Alex and Alyssa Gianotti

Scoring goals is not important to Alyssa, but stopping them is vital (48 saves through 13 games).

When one leaks past, Alex lets her know it.

"I glare, like when she knows she should have had it, she gets a glare, and I'll say, 'Why didn't you save that?'" Alex said. "I wouldn't say that to MC, and I wouldn't say it to anyone else on the team."

She also didn't wrestle or race in the pool against anyone else on the team like she did against her older sister when they were younger.

"We are pretty competitive," Alex said.

"We are very competitive," Alyssa responded.

Although Alex spends more time on the sidelines as a reserve, she cherished the opening game of the season, when the Bulls beat Fallston, 8-6. She shared the sidelines with sister Alyssa while MC Abbott started in goal.

"She was on the bench with me and I've never seen her like that," Alex said.

"We just had a good time together because she's a cheerleader," Alyssa responded. "So I was like 'Alex, lead us in a cheer.'"

Alex is a fall cheerleader and plays basketball in the winter with her sister, and appreciates a strong performance like the one Alyssa produced in a 10-3 win over Perry Hall on Senior Night.

"We were down a player and Alyssa made some big saves toward the end of the game and didn't let them back in it." Alex said.

Alyssa will play lacrosse at New Haven University next season.

Rennie and Hana Tankersley

Rennie plans to play at Bucknell University next season, but she is enjoying every moment her younger sister spends on the field.

"It's really great to see her get out there because I know she can play," Rennie said. "She has never really gotten a chance, so I know when she gets a chance, she takes full advantage of it."

"It's a lot of fun," Hana said. "We go home and have the same stories and share a lot of things. She's my role model, too."

Even as a role model, Rennie has no trouble picking her sister's brain.

"It's really helpful to have someone on your team at home who watches you practice and stuff," Rennie said.

Five other girls with sisters can say the same thing.

"I think it's crazy," Rennie said. "You see each other interact with each other and we'll joke around and go like 'Sister-sister' whenever we go up against each other for a ground ball."

Sometimes the other players even get into the sister act

"The other kids on the team want to buddy-up and be sisters, so they all have the little sister thing going on," Ensor said. "Whenever the sisters are getting together, the others will grab somebody else and say 'Be my sister.'"

Emily and Caroline May

Caroline knew she wanted to make varsity as a freshman, and having an older sister on the team prepared her for the journey.

"All winter and all school year that was my goal, and we worked out three times a week," Caroline said.

"We worked out together so we made sure we were both ready for the tryouts," Emily said. "I was proud she made it."

During tryouts, the older sibling took the younger one under her wing.

"She just motivated me through everything and I'm really happy she was there, because otherwise I would have panicked," Caroline said.

The younger May has no fear as the top scoring reserve off the bench, notching her first varsity goal against Fallston.

"It was so exciting," Emily said. "I was so happy for her."

Away from Hereford's turf field, the May sisters push each other at home, where they have two goals and a large bounce-back net.

"We get a long really well, which is really lucky," Emily said.

Bri and Maria Collacchi

The Collacchis get along, too, only they didn't play together until Maria was joined the team recently after leading the JV in scoring.

In her first varsity game, she scored a goal in an 18-3 first-round playoff victory over Milford Mill.

"I was so excited for her," Bri said. "It was nice to see and it was nice to play with her. That was our first game ever together."

The four-year varsity player had hoped she would make the team after tryouts, but knew her hard work would pay off.

"I finally get to cheer for someone other than my teammates," said Bri, who will play at Florida Southern College next year.

They are also excited that their mom can see them both on the same field.

"She definitely loves to watch us, and she is so excited that it is our first time playing together," Bri said. "It's the first time and the last time we will ever play together."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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