Dana Hall squad gets a lift from sisters’ rivalry
Brookline pair push each other on lacrosse field
Maggie Maloney has no problem with her younger sister, Lucy. Admittedly, they argue a lot at home - mostly over who is stealing the other’s shirt, jeans, or favorite piece of jewelry on a Friday night - but they are, as their dad, Ken, says, “Just girls, I guess.’’
But there is something between the Brookline sisters, a motivating factor that pushes each to do their best. It’s like drinking a large cup of coffee after your eyes have gotten weary from six hours on the highway, except with Maggie and Lucy, the extra boost comes on the lacrosse field, and there’s no caffeine boost needed.
“Classic sibling rivalry,’’ said their father.
Their rivalry turned a standout middle school tennis player into a sought-after Division 1 lacrosse commodity. It also opened the eyes of Janet Sullivan, the varsity lacrosse coach at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley. Sullivan normally does not take freshmen on her team, but last spring, she made an exception with Lucy.
Because when Maggie and Lucy are playing lacrosse together, they want to win. And they want to be the best.
“They push each other to be better in a competitive way,’’ said Sullivan, who has spent 18 years on the sideline at Dana Hall.
“Maggie would definitely have to rise and be stronger because she had her little sister coming behind her.’’
Though Maggie entered high school as a competitive tennis player, and just one of many enrolled in the Brookline Youth Lacrosse program, she eventually needed to pick one sport, and though the decision was not easy, there was a trump card.
“We’re very competitive,’’ the 5-foot-8 senior attack said of her relationship with Lucy.
“So I think that’s why I wasn’t ready to give up lacrosse,’’ she said, “because she was still playing it.’’ She got a late start, but the summer after her freshman year, Maggie tried out for the Mass Elite squad, a nationally recognized lacrosse club that plays in tournaments throughout the summer. Her sister, who was never much of a tennis player, joined her for tryouts. They both made the squad. They played in separate age groups, but developed quite quickly.
“They’re both very talented,’’ said Leslie Frank, the codirector of the Mass Elite program and head coach of the five-time Division 1 state champion girls’ squad at Westwood High.
“Maggie is a lefty and is basically good at all ends of the field, but has a beautiful ability to cut on that left wing. Her sister is a very good midfielder, up and down both ends of the field. A good feeder at both ends of the attack.’’
Two years after joining Mass Elite, the Maloneys got a chance to play on the same team. Together, they helped propel Dana Hall to a 7-2 record and second place in the Eastern Independent League this spring.
“I’ve coached twins before,’’ Sullivan said, “and I’ve seen that - throwing cleats at each other, that kind of stuff. But these two are really funny on the field. They’re much more supportive of each other.’’
“It is funny,’’ Lucy said. “We don’t really get along that much at home, but when we’re on the field, we always get along.’’
United on the field last week at the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament in New York, Maggie and Lucy helped propel Mass Elite to the championship game and a 5-1 record (the lone loss came in the final, to unbeaten All Nations).
Maggie “was often setting up her sister,’’ Frank said in recapping their tournament play, and Lucy “had a few really nice goals, actually. Really nice.’’
“It was fun,’’ Maggie said. “We had a couple tense moments of fighting, but we had a great time.’’
Their high school teammates say they have “sister telepathy,’’ according to Sullivan, recognizing the other’s moves without any need to communicate. But there’s always room for improvement.
Lucy said, “Sometimes I’ll think in my head, ‘She could do this better,’ but I know that will result in a fight if I say something to her, so it’s better not to.’’
“I think they’re very close,’’ said Sullivan. “I’ve coached sisters who have bickered much more often. These two are very supportive, much more like teammates than sisters on the field.’’
It might be even more impressive that the two could separate their differences while playing for Mass Elite, considering most summer tournaments are swarmed by college coaches and many players hope to get noticed.
But Frank and her daughter, Meredith, the varsity girls’ coach at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, often tell the two, “Make each other look good.’’
Even if she may not advertise it, Maggie is Lucy’s biggest fan. She has only optimism when speaking of her younger sister’s future in the sport, saying, “She knows what she wants and she’ll do anything to get it. We’re excited to see what she’s going to do with it.’’
So is Sullivan, who is hoping the Maloney sisters can finally guide Dana Hall over the hump and past the always-tough Pingree School squad for the top spot in the EIL next spring. “We’re going to be counting on Maggie and Lucy to be putting the ball in the net,’’ Sullivan said. “They’ll come back better and more poised. They’re used to being under pressure. They don’t panic. I think they can do it.’’
Lauding the Mass Elite program, Maggie said, “it really shows what dedication can do.
“I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned: how much time and effort is required to be a top player. These girls, they’re going to Dartmouth, they’re going to BC. What they’ve done and what they’ve put it in - and how much this sport means to them - I think that’s really what Mass Elite has shown me.’’
A few other local players also did well at the Lake Placid event. Megan O’Connor of Concord, who attends the Governor’s Academy, joined Maggie Maloney among the top scorers for Mass Elite, while Lincoln-Sudbury Regional rising sophomore Megan Mullin was part of a goaltending tandem that allowed just 49 goals over six games, second-best in the tournament.
“She has a lot of promise,’’ Frank said of Mullin, who will look to break into the starting lineup for Warriors coach Deb DeJesus next spring. “She communicates really well with her defense. And just quick hands. I think that’s the key.’’
Jason Mastrodonato can be reached at email@example.com.