CARROLL — The McKenzie sisters have seen this season coming for a while.
The three sisters, Lauren, Alexis and Ellyse all are starters on Bloom-Carroll’s girls soccer team. It’s also the only year they’ll be able to play together, because Lauren is a senior.
“It’s one of the things my parents have looked forward to, so we’ve looked forward to it, too, because we’ve all never played on the same team before,” said Alexis, a junior.
The trio has had a large hand in Bloom-Carroll’s 8-0 start to the season. Alexis has a lead on Ellyse, a freshman, for the team lead in goals (18-14) after Alexis scored three and Ellyse one in the Bulldogs’ 9-0 win Saturday against Liberty Union. The two have gone back and forth for the team lead all season. Lauren also has three goals, as the sisters all play on the same side of the field.
On one occasion so far this year, all three sisters scored in the same match. Another time, Alexis scored two goals, both on headers coming from Ellyse’s corner kicks.
“Because we’re all close in age, we’re kind of competitive with each other,” Ellyse said. “It kind of pushes us.”
Since moving to the Bloom-Carroll district from Indiana six years ago, the McKenzies knew that one year they would all be able to play together. Alexis had played with both of her sisters at different times, but this is the first time Lauren and Ellyse have been on the same team.
“It’s really cool playing with these two because you know you have two people that have your back at all times,” Lauren said. “We can kind of predict each other’s moves even before they do it.”
Mark Casperson had coached all three of the girls in club soccer before he became coach at Bloom-Carroll. He noticed their talent early and also expected them to come together for this season.
“Three out of the 11 spots being taken by sisters makes my job a lot easier because they know each other’s tendencies so well,” Casperson said.
For Ellyse, playing varsity as a freshman is an honor but not unexpected. She was the one running on the field during her sisters’ youth games when she was 2 years old.
The transition has been smooth for Ellyse, but she said she still gets nervous at the start of games. That’s where her sisters come in.
“I’m a freshman and it’s varsity. That’s crazy,” Ellyse said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of. But seeing them out there kind of relaxes me.”
The competition between the three can get intense at times. The McKenzies have had numerous contests in their backyard to see who can juggle a ball the longest (Alexis said she holds the family record, but Ellyse said it was a tie). In the end, the girls are just happy to be playing –and playing well — with each other.
“I’ve been watching (Lauren) for three years on varsity, then watching those two together I kind of felt left out,” Ellyse said. “Those are my sisters. I want to play with them. This year has been like a dream come true.”