WILKES-BARRE -- As if having three Kusakavitch girls on the roster wouldn't be enough for a team which graduated a set of twins after last season, Holy Redeemer's opponents will also have to face the Malacari "sisters" this season.
"You can call us that," senior defender Allie Malacari said. "We can finish each other's sentences and stuff."
Allie is joined in the Royals' starting lineup this season by cousin Selena Malacari, a senior who has taken over as the starting goalie for the team. The opportunity to be on the field together as seniors completes the circle for the pair.
"We used to live just two or three houses away from each other growing up," Selena said.
Allie was a second team All-State player last season on the Royals' backline. One can only wonder what would have happened if things turned out differently years ago.
"We fought for the position," Allie said of a goaltending battle back in junior high. "But we're both really happy. We never really got to play together, so this is a special opportunity for us."
Selena had to wait for her turn behind standout keeper Elizabeth Nicholas, who graduated last season.
"I really enjoy it," Selena said. "I get to tell everyone where to go on defense. I'm in charge. I feel like there's probably a little pressure on me, but we know how to handle pressure. It's my year to shine."
Having one of the best around playing right in front of her will surely be a boon to Selina's game.
"We're both striving to do so well for the team," Allie said. "I'm on her and she's the same with me. We push each other."
And they are bringing their family together.
"When we play, it's basically a family reunion," Selena said. "Our whole family is able to get together and watch."
Now, all that's left for the sisters ... sorry, cousins .,. is to go after that elusive ticket to states.
"We're hungry," Allie said. "We want it. It's been a long road. Our freshman year, was kind of half and half. Sophomore year, we lost to Sem in the (district) semifinals (7-1). Last year (a district semifinal loss to Crestwood on penalty strokes) was the most heartbreaking loss I ever felt."