When you watch the
St. Paul's Girls (Brooklandville, Md.)
lacrosse team play, it looks as if they are only playing with 11 players on the field, instead of the traditional 12.
That's because two of them look exactly alike.
Identical twins Brooke Boyd
and Kelly Boyd
are senior midfield attackers for St. Paul's (4-2) and look and play so much alike that sometimes they even confuse their coaches.
"They are so dominant on the field, we often can't tell them apart," St. Paul's coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland said with a laugh. "And it's good the opponents can't either."
Like many twins claim, the sisters insist they have a special telepathy or extrasensory perception, one that not only takes place off the field, but unfortunately for opponents, on it.
"We practice so much in the backyard, our connection kind of developed over time," said Brooke, who is the older of the two. "Even at the lower levels it was evident to people we had a special connection."
That innate connection has also helped the pair excel as a doubles team on the tennis court.
"Our confidence in each other and ability to communicate is what makes us a good tennis team," Kelly said of herself and Brooke, who together won the conference title in second doubles as freshmen. "We count on and trust each other. We don't need to communicate verbally very much. I know when she's going to get a ball and vice versa."
Their lacrosse coach knows something about coaching twins. Ironically, Kuhl-McClelland has had twins on her teams — six sets total — in each of her 11 years as a head coach (nine at Mount Hebron, where she won six state titles, and two at St. Paul's).
"The twins I've coached have had a symbiotic relationship and count on each other," Kuhl-McClelland explained. "Brooke and Kelly are no different. They connect physically and emotionally. You'll hear them call each other and hit each other with a pass without even having to look for the other. I'll say to myself, 'Don't make that pass.' And then they do and the other magically appears. It's cool to see the connection."
Despite their identical looks, each brings a unique set of skills to the game.
"Kelly is good in transition and in one-on-one situations and has good height and strength to control the draw off the circle," Kuhl-McClelland explained. "Brooke is more of a finesse feeder and is our calming influence on offense."
But the sisters also have a few skills in common.
"They both have cannons for arms," their coach added about her captains. "They have powerful shots. Both can pellet the goal. They are very gifted athletes with incredible stick skills and a good field sense."
The sisters were first team Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland Conference all-stars as juniors, and this year are ranked among the Top 100 players in the country on most lists. Kelly has 18 goals and three assists through six games, while Brooke has tallied 10 goals and seven assists. They've been playing the game together since they were 5 years old, honing their skills at home.
"We mostly developed our stick skills in the back yard," Brooke said. "It's what we are proudest of now. We played a lot of catch and practiced our shooting on the goal we've had in our back yard for as long as I can remember."
Unlike most siblings, neither recalled ever fighting with the other.
"We aren't very competitive when it comes to comparing ourselves to one another," Brooke said. "We are just supportive of each other. She's my best friend."
Best friends or not, each was quick to give a jab to the other for a skill the other wasn't so jealous of.
"Kelly is a really good hip-hop dancer, at least around the house," Brooke said with a laugh.
"Brooke is always singing in the car and around the house," Kelly shot back.
Kuhl-McClelland said both girls "are a hoot" and just a lot of fun to be around. Brooke admitted that on April Fool's Day in fourth grade, she and Kelly switched classrooms at school to fool the teachers, but since then they haven't played any "traditional twin" pranks on anyone.
The best friends will be around each other a lot after high school. Both have verbally committed to play lacrosse at the University of Virginia, which is the only school they visited and said they "fell in love with immediately."
"We never even had a conversation about if we'd go to the same college," Brooke said. "We've always played on the same team ever since we started, and so it was just sort of assumed we'd move on together to the next level."
However, the girls won't room together.
"Eighteen years is enough," both agreed chuckling.
"She'll always be my best friend, but we just want to try something different," Brooke added.
Neither has made a decision on a major, but both are interested in a business field. On the playing field, Kelly said she's looking forward to playing against tougher competition in practices and games, as well as having a "typical" college experience.
"I've been ready to go for a while," Kelly said. "I'm excited for the academics and moving on to the next stage of my life."
Kuhl-McClelland said the girls' greatest contribution to Virginia's program will be to just keep doing what they do best.
"Virginia has a freestyle offensive set," Kuhl-McClelland explained, "and so the girls' ability to hit each other on feeds and in stride will help them fit into the UVA mold very well.
"They are just so beautiful to watch in action," the coach added.
Even if you can't tell them apart.Jon Buzby is the sports columnist for the Newark Post, a freelance writer, and on the broadcast team for the 1290AM The Ticket High School Football and Basketball Games of the Week. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.