Sisters Nicole and Melissa Gavin are freshman starting on their respective soccer teams, with Nicole at Duxbury High School and Melissa at Yale University. But both have taken up leadership roles on their new teams and are putting up numbers like seasoned veterans.
The sisters honed their soccer skills battling each other in countless backyard soccer games with their two brothers growing up in Duxbury.
Melissa made a name for herself playing for the Dragons for four seasons. She led the Patriot League in scoring (29 goals, 15 assist) and was named an All-American as a senior last season.
But with the exit of one high scoring Gavin from Duxbury, came the addition of another.
"When [Melissa] found out I made Varsity she told me that I shouldn’t be scared and that I better not play like a freshman," said Nicole, who has taken her sister’s advice to heart.
The younger Gavin is leading the 14th ranked Dragons (7-1-2) in scoring and is second in the Patriot League, with 10 goals and eight assists through eight games this season.
"[Nicole and I] have been comparing what it's been like for us as we try to fit into new systems and adapt to playing styles," said Melissa, who makes sure to talk with her sister at least once a week. "Nicole has adopted really well so far, I couldn't be more proud of her," she said.
Melissa, has adapted pretty well to her new team as well, bursting onto the scene at Yale, leading the team with four goals and three assists. Totals that place her tied for fourth in the Ivy League in scoring.
"[Melissa's] just so humble and she doesn’t even know how good she really is," said Nicole, who admits that her older sister is her soccer role model. "I've watched her play and seen all her accomplishments and they help to motivate me to try to do it too," she said.
Both Gavins play with different styles on the pitch. At 5-foot-2, Melissa relies on her experience, speed, and field vision, while at 5-foot-6, Nicole tends to be more athletic and physical with her play.
"[Nicole's] very athletic, she has great foot skills and a wicked shot, but she can also run people off the ball better than I could," said Melissa. "We're five-years apart so we never got to play together except in the yard, but we’ve gotten very competitive and we love to tease each other after a poor play."
Surprisingly, If Melissa had gotten her way growing up we might not be seeing such impressive offensive numbers from Nicole this season.
"I always tried to convince her to be a goalie," admits the older Gavin. "I really wanted someone to shoot on, but as she grew as a player it became pretty obvious that she definitely didn’t want to play in net."
After the Yale soccer season ends, Melissa plans to help out Duxbury as they look to improve on last season where the Dragons made it all the way to the Division 2 South finals.
Games of the Week
Hopkinton at No. 5 Medfield, Tue., 5 - If Medfield’s going to drop a game in the Tri-Valley League this season, Hopkinton (6-4) is as likely a candidate as any to do the job.
Whitman-Hanson at Hingham, Tue., 4 - This Patriot League matchup pits the Panthers (6-1-1), who haven’t lost a Keenan game since mid-September against the Harbormen (6-0-1), who just haven’t lost a game.
No. 19 Concord-Carlisle at No. 6 Lincoln-Sudbury, Wed., 4 - This game will have some major DCL ramifications we’ll get to see if the Warriors stingy defense (2 goals allowed all season) can silence EMass leading scorer Andrea O’Brien.
No. 4 Winchester at No. 2 Central Catholic, Sat., 7:45 - A battle of top five giants, that could easily be an EMass Division 1 championship preview.
Players of the week
Andrea O’Brien, Concord-Carlisle - Eastern Massachusetts’s leading scorer put home all five goals in the Patriots, 5-2, win over Wayland on Tuesday and added two goals and as assist in a, 2-0, shutout of Bedford on Thursday. O’Brien has 25 goals and seven assists on the season.
Greer Gilbert, Falmouth - The senior captain stepped up and scored all three goals for the Clippers in a challenging week. She scored the game winner in a 1-0 win over then-No. 15 Marshfield on Monday. She help Falmouth pull of a, 1-1, tie with ACL leading Plymouth South on Wednesday and scored to lone goal in a, 2-1 loss to undefeated Dartmouth on Friday. Gilbert has nine goals and three assists this season.
Megan Beidleman, Hopkinton - The junior facilitator had her hand in all three goals the Hillers scored this week, tallying the lone goal in a, 1-0 over Ashland and adding a goal and the game winning assist in a 2-1 win over Dover-Sherborn. She has seven goals and two assists this season.
Shannon Conneely, Weymouth - The senior finished the week with three goals and two assists, as the Wildcats cruised past Framingham and Norwood.
Hannah Nolan, Newton Country Day - Nolan made 48 stops over the course of three games this past week, while the team went, 1-1-1. Nolan made 17 or more saves in each game.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.