WILKES-BARRE -- With twins Ashley and Lauren Bernardi now in Northwestern uniforms, Wyoming Valley Conference opponents know they still have to deal with the Kusakavitch ‚??triplets.‚?Ě
As the Royals made their way to a second consecutive appearance in the district semifinals, the trio drew intrigue and admiration from opposing fans.
With alliterative first names (Melanie, Mallory and Marnie), consecutive uniform numbers (23, 24 and 25, respectively) and similar passions for field hockey, the trio can -- at times -- be hard to tell apart, even for their teammates.
They‚??ve grown used to the ‚??triplets‚?Ě references by people and even embrace it a bit.
‚??Oh yeah, we hear it a lot,‚?Ě said Marnie, a senior forward and the oldest of the trio. ‚??We‚??re only 17 months apart, so we kind of understand. It‚??s not a big deal to us.‚?Ě
‚??We just go with it,‚?Ě said Melanie, a junior forward and Mallory‚??s twin. ‚??Why not?‚?Ě
The sisters are leaders for a Holy Redeemer squad that is expected to challenge for another Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title. They want to give state tournament action a try this season as well.
‚??We have a real fast forward line this year‚?Ě Mallory said. ‚??We have a very good team this season.‚?Ě
‚??We have nine games on grass this season,‚?Ě added Melanie. ‚??Our grass here is the best that it‚??s ever been.‚?Ě
There‚??s added inspiration for the trio this season because this could be their final season on the same team.
‚??Of course we‚??re going to miss Marnie next season,‚?Ě Mallory said. ‚??We‚??ve been playing this sport together forever. We‚??re so proud of Marnie, though. She just committed to West Chester.‚?Ě
‚??Maybe we‚??ll play with here there,‚?Ě Melanie said.
All of the sisters are tremendous athletes. Marnie was a second team All-State selection last season, but each of them play at an elite level.
After the season, Mallory is part of the Royals‚?? district champion swim team. Then spring comes and the sisters are state qualifiers on Holy Redeemer‚??s track team. Each of them was on at least one relay team and all three siblings are members of the district champion 400 relay unit.
‚??We‚??re always pushing each other,‚?Ě Marnie said. ‚??We all have our strengths and we all have our things we‚??re still working on.‚?Ě
‚??We talk,‚?Ě Mallory added. ‚??We‚??re very competitive.‚?Ě
‚??But we know when to shut up,‚?Ě Melanie stated.
They are back on their home field after last year‚??s flooding washed away their home games, and even home practices. The Kusakavitches plan to do everything they can to make sure it is special.
‚??I‚??m glad to be back here,‚?Ě Marnie said. ‚??We didn‚??t know what to expect.‚?Ě
Royals opponents know what to expect from the sisters and are watching out for them.