Sisters bring chemistry lesson to girls soccer playoff teams in Westmoreland County
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 | 5:56 PM
Regan and Robin Reilly have a secret. A secret, just between sisters.
“We are competing to see who scores more goals,” said Regan, a junior defender for the Latrobe girls soccer team. “It’s a little side competition we have.”
“They have a little fun with that,” Wildcats coach Jamie Morrison said. “They’re battling for the lead.”
Through a dozen games, Regan was ahead, 14-12, although Robin, a sophomore midfielder for the Wildcats (9-2-2), had 11 assists — some to her sister.
“She’s trying to catch me,” Regan said.
But the girls are not always looking to score. If they can pass off to make a good shot a great one, they’ll do it.
The Reillys are just one of several sister combinations contributing to local teams as the WPIAL playoffs get set to open later this week.
• Franklin Regional (9-5-2) has the Phillips siblings, Riley and Reese. While two years apart in class, they cherish the moments when they are on the field together.
“It means more when we are encouraging each other or pointing out things we need to work on,” Riley said. “Because we know each other so well.”
• Mt. Pleasant (14-0), the No. 1-ranked team in 2A, features Morgan and Riley Gesinski, key pieces to its high-powered attack.
“We’re a dynamic duo,” Riley Gesinski said.
• Penn-Trafford has two sets of freshmen twin sisters. Emilie and Ava Ostrosky and Olivia and Hannah Weishaar help the Warriors (7-5-4) in the midfield and on the back line.
• The sisters Fabery power up Southmoreland (9-3-1). Kendall is a senior and Gabby, a junior. The duo creates scoring chances in the midfield.
• Brooke and Alexis Wieland make up nearly 20% of Yough’s slim roster. The sisters are valuable on both ends of the pitch for the Cougars (8-6-1).
• Greensburg Central Catholic (8-3) gets valuable minutes out of the Botti sisters — sophomore Jilian and freshman Lexie. Both have played in the midfield and on defense.
Sibling rivalries are nothing new to prep sports. They have been around for decades. It’s the chemistry dynamic that connects many sisters who get to play varsity together.
In many of these cases, the girls know one another’s tendencies, can be critical of the other’s game without static and can take soccer talk home with them.
“We’re looking for each other,” Morgan Gesinski said. “We know where we’re going to be on the field. It’s pretty cool when we connect on a goal.”
And that has happened multiple times for the Gesinskis. They either scored or assisted the other’s goal in a pair of wins over Southmoreland.
Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland has a young team, one that was once filled with wonder. Now, teams wonder how they’re going to stop the Vikings.
“Riley is unsung,” Garland said. “Morgan is just such a sweet player. They work together.”
Said Riley Gesinski: “We mean business.”
The Phillips girls each bring something different to the table for Franklin Regional.
“Riley is a multi-year starter and leader and Reese is a young, talented player in our largest class,” Panthers coach Scott Arnold said. “Having sisters on the same team can help break down barriers between classes and make the younger players more quickly and genuinely feel more accepted by the older players.”
Riley Phillips said playing different positions, and for the same goal, negates the sibling rivalry.
“We have played soccer for a long time, and we talk about soccer a lot in our house, but high school was the first time we ever got to play together,” she said. “So it’s great to have someone I can talk with about the highs and lows of a game or a season, and she knows exactly what I’m feeling because she was with me.”
Morrison appreciates the talent and versatility she has with the Reilly girls. She has a deeply talented lineup, but the Wildcats play with a team-first mentality.
“We’re a very unselfish team,” said Regan Reilly, a Bowling Green commit.
When Latrobe played Franklin Regional last week, Morrison moved them to different positions to sharpen the offense.
It is a luxury many teams do not have.
Southmoreland coach Josh Pajak has been able to do the same with the Faberys, moving them to spots that will give the Scotties a better chance to win.
Kendall Fabery is headed to Cleveland State to play.
“We rely heavily on them,” Pajak said. “They can play different positions and each game they have. I know I can move them with no problem.”
Yough coach Mike Veychek said Brooke Weiland, a sophomore midfielder, is a key holding-mid or outside-mid, while Alexis, a senior defender, is a first-year contributor who has taken on a larger role for the Cougars.
“Brooke has become a leader on the team for the younger girls, more by what she does on the field,” the coach said. “When Alexis is focused, she is a hard worker and rarely gives up on a play. What she lacks in speed and skill, she makes up for in determination.”
Alexis Weiland said she takes pride in both challenging and encouraging her sister.
Said Brooke Weiland: “I know (Alexis) will always have my back, and I can help her progress as a player.”
Penn-Trafford is strong at the outside back position, which explains close games and four ties. The Osloskys and Weischaars have made a significant impact at both ends of the field.
“The Osloskys are literally tough as nails,” Penn-Trafford coach Jimmy Mastroianni said. “Emilie came into camp with a pulled quad and Ava came in with a bad knee. If we didn’t ask, we wouldn’t have known as it didn’t slow them down one bit. No ice, no trainer, they just work their tails off.”
Emilie Oslosky has 10 goals.
“Olivia and Hanna Weishaar are no different when it comes to toughness,” Mastroianni said. “No complaints, they just go wherever they are needed with no hesitation. These two can literally run all day.
“It’s a little tougher to tell these two apart. Supposedly, Olivia is a quarter-inch taller, but that’s hard to see across the field.”
First-year GCC coach Kara Batey joked that the Botti girls play so well together, one would think they have known each other their entire lives.
“They look for each other to keep intensity up,” Batey said. “Jill, at center back, looks for Lexie (attacking mid) to make good connections into our midfield. They add to a competitive atmosphere.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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