Alle-Kiski area sisters bond as they push teams toward WPIAL postseason
Just after the end of Knoch's 5-0 loss at Mars in girls soccer on Sept. 23, Knights freshman midfielder/defender Allie Gore began to cry.
While the lopsided result against the Butler County rival and perennial WPIAL power upset Gore to some extent, what really bothered the freshman starter was the way some of Mars' girls, whom Gore knew as teammates through the Northern Steel cup organization, no longer seemed friendly when they became opponents.
An older, wiser Gore provided Allie solace.
“I know the emotions and drama that come with it,” said senior defender Abbey Gore, Allie's sister and a four-year starter. “So I remember just standing on the field for a long time, just hugging her and telling her, ‘It's OK.' ”
While teammates who double as friends are emotionally in tune with one another from time to time, there's little doubt that sisters share the deepest bond. Several Alle-Kiski Valley sisters, including the Gores, have helped their teams earn playoff berths and developed lasting memories along the way.
“At the beginning of the season, I wasn't tough,” Allie Gore said.
The younger Gore, though identified as more offensively gifted than her sister, aspires above all else to match Abbey's defensive grit.
“I feel like I'm pretty good, but compared to her, I feel like I'm nowhere as good,” Allie Gore said. “When she goes for a tackle, she goes in 100 percent. She doesn't care about what happens to her.”
Both Gores are big reasons why Knoch (12-5-1, 10-3-1) had nine shutouts. Abbey, one of the team's two center backs, also has three goals and four assists, while Allie, a starter at left back, has one goal and two assists.
Goal-scoring, though not a concern for the Gore girls, was a touchy topic for Freeport's Jack sisters.
Senior sweeper Dava Jack has toiled away on defense, where she stifles breakaways and clears corner kicks. Her twin, Erica Jack, roams the other end of the field as one of two forwards for Freeport (10-7-1, 9-4-1).
Erica Jack scored 25 goals during the regular season, including five in the Yellowjackets' Section 2-AA finale, an 8-1 win over Indiana on Oct. 9. But the goal that mattered most that night to the Jack family came from the foot of Dava, who scored three times as a freshman midfielder and hadn't scored since.
The scoring opportunity came about after Erica and Dava Jack, who are not identical twins but resemble each other, agreed to switch positions mid-play.
“I don't really think our coaches noticed,” Erica Jack said. “And when she scored, she just like fell on the ground because she was so happy. Then I picked her up, and she was crying, and I was crying.”
Added Dava: “I didn't even know how to handle myself. ... Without her, I probably would've lay there all night.”
The Amatos of Plum (14-3, 9-3 in Section 3-AAA) and the DeBaldos of Fox Chapel (16-1-1, 11-0-1 in Section 3-AAA) can sympathize with the Jacks, as they're also sister tandems with polar roles.
Mustangs sophomore midfielder Ashley Amato has 17 goals and five assists, while senior defender Alexis Amato has one of each.
Foxes senior defender Janelle DeBaldo accumulated 15 assists but no goals during the regular season, while freshman midfielder Deena DeBaldo tallied 15 goals and added three assists.