By Will LeBlond
GROTON – The Groton girls soccer team captured its first IAC Small School North Division Championship since 1998, with sisters at the core of its success.
The Reeves sisters – Sidney and Lauren – are separated by four years in school, but became teammates a year ago. This season, their second playing on varsity together, senior Sidney led the team in scoring while freshman Lauren roamed the back half of the field as a stalwart defender.
Both started in Groton recreational soccer levels in their early youth, followed by playing for the Syracuse Development Academy in recent years. With the age gap, there weren’t too any opportunities for them to team up, until the past couple of seasons with Groton’s varsity.
Even though she’s the older sister, Sidney has not felt the need to give an abundance of advice to the younger Lauren.
“I haven’t really told her what to do too much, because she knows what’s expected of her,” said Sidney. “I do try to lead by example, and she’s caught on pretty fast.”
Sidney showed off her leadership in the IAC Small School Championship game against Spencer Van-Etten/Candor at Tompkins Cortland Community College when she scored both goals in a 2-1 Groton win; Lauren helped the defense hold SV-EC in check.
An especially fond memory of the season for the duo was when the team clinched the Division Championship with a win at 5-1 Marathon on October 7 and was welcomed back into town with a police escort.
“We kind of knew about it, but it was still a bit of a surprise,” said Sidney. “All of a sudden, we thought we were getting pulled over, but it was just a police escort and when we got back to town we went up to the high school and a bunch of fans met us.”
The escort put an exclamation point on a regular season that included a 14-2-1 record, success that came from the team’s attention to detail during practice.
“Since preseason started we’ve talked about what it would be like to be Division Champions and what it would take to achieve that goal,” said Sidney. “It was talked about during almost every practice.”
As a member of the senior class, Sidney was part of the group that helped the younger players like Lauren develop during the season. With all the pieces meshing together during the championship year, the underclassmen were able to follow the lead.
“It’s really amazing to see how the older girls are always helping the younger girls,” said Lauren. “We’re all working together to become the best that we can be and it’s an amazing feeling.”
With graduation looming in the spring, Sidney has already made a verbal commitment to continue her soccer career at the University at Buffalo next season. After watching the recruitment process that her older sister went through, Lauren has developed a collegiate soccer dream of her own, but her desired school may cause some sibling rivalries down the road.
“I definitely want to go play Division I soccer,” Lauren said, “and one of the places I really want to go play at is Syracuse.”
Groton’s season came to a close on October 26, when they lost by a 2-0 margin to Elmira Notre Dame in the Section 4 Class C semifinals.