Sutphins show split images as S. River stars

Girls soccer: Off the field, the identical twins' likes and dislikes run parallel, but they go their own ways in uniform.

October 27, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Ask one and then the other about her favorite food and you'll get the same answer: Dad's steak on the grill.

For Jacque and Brandi Sutphin, identical twins and senior standouts on the No. 2-ranked South River girls soccer team, that one is easy.

Dig even further and it's still the same: Medium rare and most of the time without steak sauce, but on occasion they'll reach for a little A-1.

"And if one is having A-1, the other is having A-1," said Brandi, who, along with her sister, insists - from favorite music to television shows to subjects in school to Dad's work on the barbecue - there's very little difference between the two.

That is until they take the soccer field.

It is there that Jacque, with a 13-1-1 record that includes 11 shutouts and only eight goals allowed, is the stone wall of defense at goalkeeper and Brandi, with 14 goals and 19 assists, is the dynamic creator on offense at center midfield.

"Our coach [Keith Fontaine] is like, `One twin is stopping them, the other is putting them away,' " Jacque said.

Together, they have led the Seahawks (13-1-1) to the Anne Arundel County championship - with an impressive 2-0 win over Severna Park on Thursday - and now their attention is focused on a state title. The quest begins Thursday when the Seahawks take on the winner of tomorrow's game between Meade and Old Mill in the Class 4A East regional playoffs.

"Everybody is out there playing with intensity and playing with their hearts. We want it all. It shows in practice how hard we've worked and bonded together," Brandi said.

The bond between Jacque and Brandi (Jacque is seven minutes older, but Brandi, at 5 feet 8, is two inches taller) has naturally been there from the start. Soccer worked its way in when they were 4 years old.

Aside from a two-year period just before high school when their parents encouraged them to try other sports, soccer has become a way of life, and it shows. The two have orally committed to play at West Virginia University next fall.

"They're an amazing combination of what you want out of an athlete and a person - hard work, determination, skills, talents. They both have the total package," Fontaine said. "They're very similar in that they both have a little edge of perfectionism to them. They don't like to lose, they don't like to not do something well, and that drives them and motivates them to work hard every day."

At practice and at home, a soccer ball is never far away.

"The great thing about having each other is we both love to play so much. We're always helping each other," Jacque said. "When we were younger, we would go out every day and compete to see who could get the most juggles. Now, she helps me with my goalkeeper training and I help her with her field work."

Scoring a goal on Jacque is no easy task, but if anyone can it's Brandi.

After coming off the bench last season to lead the Seahawks in scoring with nine goals and four assists, Brandi skipped the beach over the summer to work on her game, and it has paid big dividends.

"She's always asking, `What can I do on my own?' " Fontaine said. "That's where the real growth came from - her individual want to get better."

For the record, Brandi said you need to hit a corner high to get one past Jacque, basically a perfectly placed ball.

Severna Park coach Gary Lam certainly saw enough of both of them on Thursday. Jacque finished with seven saves to keep the Falcons scoreless for the second time in four days (the teams played to a 0-0 tie in the regular-season finale on Monday), and, while Brandi didn't factor in either of the Seahawks' two goals, she dominated the middle of the field to set the tone.

"They both have great athletic ability," Lam said. "Brandi is probably the most dangerous player in the county right now. Every time she touches the ball, things are at a standstill. And we had four or five corners that Jacque just snagged out of the air, and she's always looking to counter immediately."

Both are always looking out for each other.

"After she makes a big save and after I score a big goal, we always make eye contact," Brandi said.

Sister acts are nothing new at South River. In the Seahawks' consecutive state-championship seasons of 1996 and '97, Nichoal and Lorie Zamarippa were the focal points, and this year's team has another pair in Crystal, a junior forward, and Melissa Curry, a senior midfielder. The two have combined for nine goals and eight assists.

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