The Ithaca Little Red girls soccer team is coming off a great season in which it won the Section IV Class AA tournament. The Little Red look to build on that result last year, and helping them achieve that goal are three pairs of sisters.
Senior captain Zoe Getzin and her younger sister Lucy, a sophomore, have been playing together in some capacity for the past seven years. Senior twins Emma and Abby Hagen have been teammates as long as they can remember.
This year, however, is the first time that Morgan and Samantha Haaf are on the same school team since Morgan is a senior and Samantha is a freshman.
Morgan’s final season on the team will be a special one, and she said that it’s great to see her younger sister grow as a player in the same uniform she’s wearing. While Morgan was feeling sentimental, Samantha claimed that playing with her sibling is “not that different,” which drew a laugh from her teammates.
The strongest connection may just be shared by the Hagen twins. Playing on the left side of the field together, they get to connect on plays often.
“It’s funny because our brains basically work the same. We’re always on the same page. And we play outside of school together. We play club together,” Abby said, “So having someone else on the field that basically knows your every move, it’s really nice because we connect really well. Especially since we’re on the same side of the field, that makes it pretty easy.”
Not only are their brains in sync; so are their bodies, as both were nursing injuries to start the season.
“We had the same injury at the same time on the same leg. But we’re both at pretty much 100%,” Abby said. “It’s nice because we get to stay on top of each other about trying to get better and doing the right things.”
While two years separate Zoe and Lucy Getzin, the younger Lucy’s skill level has enabled them to play together for the past seven years. When Lucy first reached the high school team, having her older sister waiting for her certainly made the transition a breeze. She explained that it was much easier to make friends and fit in as opposed to being the lone Getzin on the team.
On that note, Morgan added that she felt the same way this year, but the other way around. Having her younger sister Samantha be a part of the group of freshmen joining the team helped her get to know the first-year players that much quicker.
Chemistry is a focal point for the team this year, and the players were insistent that this team is incredibly tight-knit in comparison to prior seasons.
“In the past years, we’ve definitely struggled a lot with chemistry,” Emma said. “Having all these siblings on the team and having the age group that we have right now, we’ve all been playing together for years in the offseason. So that definitely helps us with connecting and finding each other on the field and just being able to help each other when we struggle with different soccer-related things.”
She added that the connection goes beyond the field with this team, and helping each other with homework is a regular occurrence. Another boost to the morale of the Little Red have been team-building exercises.
This past weekend, Ithaca girls soccer was in Schenectady for the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports Hall of Fame Tournament. During some of the downtime, a friendly competition commenced between the teammates.
“We had to take a song and make a parody of it that was soccer-related and then we had to make a dance to it,” Zoe said.
While the teammates all argued whose group should have won the contest, they all agreed that no one is being left out this year, and the camaraderie is very strong.
“This year, we’re more cohesive altogether,” Getzin said.
With their sights set on winning the Section IV tournament for a second straight year, the girls want to go beyond their first-round exit from the 2018 New York State Tournament. Building on their strong bonds can help them reach those heights.
“I think one thing we’re focusing on is all being on the same page, like all being able to work hard all the time and work hard as a unit,” Zoe said. “I do think that having a bunch of sisters on the team and people who know each other so well, that’s probably helped with that.”
At the writing of this article, the Ithaca Little Red are 1-1-1 on the season and recently tallied their first win, a 6-0 shutout against Binghamton. The sisters and their teammates have settled in and are primed to make another run at states.
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