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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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Special Feature
four sets of twins give mules
double the talent

twins
Brittany and Courtney DeAngelis; Kasey and Kimberly Hacker; Matt and Phil Musick; and Ashley and Christina O’Grady

Muhlenberg women’s soccer coach Leslie Benintend has it easier than most coaches.

“Coach thinks it’s great that she can all out one name and get two people,” said Ashley O’Grady, who, along with her twin sister Christina, has played on the women’s soccer team for the past three years.

But what makes it even easier for Benintend is that she can call out just one other last name and get another two people — Kimberly and Kasey Hacker, the second set of junior twins on the women’s soccer team.

Well, maybe if you really think about it, Benintend has it harder than most coaches, having to tell half her starters apart. There are differences between both sets of twins, but once they get on the field, they disappear.

Courtney and Brittany DeAngelis are freshman twin sisters who played field hockey for the Mules this past season. Although they don’t look exactly alike, Courtney claims, “Once the hair goes up, people get confused.”

And sometimes it’s not how much they look alike, but which sister is playing which position that gives people trouble.

“Sometimes coach will be talking about a play I made and she’ll be saying Kasey made the play,” said Kimberly.

“In high school the paper would write, ‘Courtney DeAngelis with a defensive save,’ when I’m actually the one that plays defense,” said Brittany.

“Our coach in high school gave us numbers,” said Christina O’Grady. “One and two. He couldn’t remember our names, but he could remember who had what number.”

Although constant mixups can get old, there are benefits to having a twin on the field. The Hackers claim that being a twin has made them better athletes.

“We make each other run outside the season to stay in shape,” said Kasey.

“We’re a lot harder on each other than we are on other teammates,” said Kimberly. “That pushes us, knowing the other expects a lot.”

The DeAngelis sisters agree. “We can be completely honest with each other and we won’t get offended,” said Courtney. “We can say, ‘Hey, you have to work on this.’”

“We’ve always been on the same team,” said Brittany, “so we know each other’s playing style. We make each other look better.”

“We’re familiar with each other’s playing style,” said Ashley O’Grady. “When I kick a ball, I know she can get there.”

And it might be true what they say about twins reading each other’s minds.

“It’s weird, but we always know where the other is on the field,” said Kasey Hacker.

The Hackers, the O’Gradys and the DeAngelises aren’t competitive within the family; the sisters play different positions, so each does her own job.

Not so much with the football team’s set of twins.

Freshmen Matt and Phil Musick claim they compete over everything from video games to who got the higher grade on a test. In high school the two competed over who would receive the scholar-athlete award.

“I think Phil won it every year,” said Matt, who claimed his GPA was always about .2 lower than Phil’s.

And when one brother played offense and the other defense (both played defense for Muhlenberg), it was hard for them not to get competitive on the field.

“We would go up against each other in practice, to the point where we would have to get separated,” said Matt.

But it’s just a little friendly sibling rivalry. The brothers are quick to compliment the other’s athletic abilities.

“Matt is very intense and he always wins when we fight because he never stops,” said Phil.

“Phil has smarts on the field,” said Matt. “He knows what plays to make and how to go about making them. It’s what makes it hard to go up against him; he knows what I’m going to do before I do it.”

And the Musick brothers are glad they went to the same school.

“Training camp was tough, getting used to the change in the level of football,” said Matt. “Having Phil around helped with that transition.”

Going to college with a sibling is, as Courtney DeAngelis puts it, “taking a piece of home with you. It makes the transition to college easier.”

“It’s nice on Friday nights when you can’t go out because you have a game to have someone to watch a movie with,” said Kimberly Hacker.

Being an athlete in general has helped these eight students adjust to college life.

“The team unity makes it easier meeting friends,” said Courtney.

“Muhlenberg football is very competitive as far as Division III goes,” said Matt Musick, “but it allows you to focus on other things. We spend time on the field and in the weight room, but then you can go out, join a club, be who you want to be. It doesn’t confine you.”

Note: A survey of Division III colleges revealed that Muhlenberg was the only school (of those that responded) with four sets of twins on its fall teams this past season. Pictured (zigzagging down from the top) are Kasey Hacker, Brittany DeAngelis, Phil Musick, Christina O’Grady, Ashley O’Grady, Matt Musick, Courtney DeAngelis and Kimberly Hacker.

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