Communication is the key to a successful lacrosse team.
It is really effective when players can communicate without saying anything, seeming to know where another player will move before they have taken a step in any direction.
In the case of the Westhill girls lacrosse team, that type of communication occurs between players with unbreakable bonds.
The Vikings have two sets of twins on varsity and one more coming up on JV.
Seniors Olivia and Ana Feliciano and juniors Audra and Anna Hansen play on the varsity with freshmen Victoria and Gabriella Wloszek suiting up on JV.
“We definitely see that with the twins. They have that speechless communication where they know where the other sister’s next move will be,” Westhill coach Julie Trombetta said. “I feel like they can just give each other a look that can ether hype them up or calm them down depending on the situation. These girls have a special bond and they know how each other works and how each other thinks. It’s pretty cool.”
Audra Hansen, who has committed to play lacrosse at UMass-Lowell, is a two-way midfielder who can lock down opposing attackers and drive to the cage herself on the other end.
Anna Hansen plays defense and when it is time to clear a ball from the back, is always on the lookout for her sister.
“On defense we can help each other where to go and in transition I can always find her,” Anna said. “I feel like I know where she will be at all times and that helps me getting the ball up the field.”
Audra said the confidence she has in her sister getting the ball up to her makes it easier to operate on the field.
“We know each other really well. On the field it makes for great communication. We know what each other are going to do and where we will be on the field,” Audra said. “On defense, she can tell me what to do better and when she brings the ball up, I can help her with that. We play three sports together. We also play soccer and basketball for Westhill. It is a lot of time spent together.”
Of the three sports they play together, Audra and Anna agree that being twins has the biggest benefit on the lacrosse field.
Ava Feliciano plays goalie with Olivia in the midfield.
For them, just knowing their sister is out there, makes all the difference.
“I know we can always talk to each other. Whether it’s something one of us can do better or just cheering each other on. It’s very comforting knowing she is there,” Olivia Feliciano said. “She wasn’t always a goalie and we played the same position for a lot of years. When we did it always made it easier having my sister by my side.”
Trombetta said both sets of twins bring something unique to the team.
“With Anna and Audra in transition, every pass they pass to each other is perfect. They just know where the other is going, how fast they run. It’s cool how they work,” Trombetta said. “In the goalie position, you can get in your head and think everything is your fault. With Ava in goal, Liv has a special way of calming her down and telling her ‘you’re good, it’s fine.’”
Along with the on-field connection, the last year has brought the twins together in ways they never imagined. Missing last season due to COVID-19 was made a little easier with someone to go through the experience with.
“I was so upset that we didn’t get to play last season, Ava Feliciano said. “At least we could go out and throw the ball every day and we had each other so we were not as isolated as other kids.”
In the Hansen household, Audra and Anna were home with their older siblings and fellow twins Grace and Jake, both of whom played lacrosse at Westhill.
Audra will get to play with Grace next season at UMass-Lowell where Grace is a sophomore midfielder.
“We have two older siblings who play lacrosse so we could be at the field in the summer scrimmaging against each other, shooting. We are partners for everything. Practice buddy, workout buddy,” Anna Hansen said. “Growing up in a family with two sets of twins means a lot of competition on and off the field. It’s this competition that has pushed me in my life and in sports.”