Tennis helps keep Sullivans prepared
The twins Sara and Elizabeth Sullivan agree that their anticipation and footwork, perfected as the top two singles players on the girls’ tennis team at North Quincy High, helped them to develop into quicker and more skilled athletes at the collegiate level.
But not on the tennis court.
Sara is a goalie on the resurgent Framingham State University women’s soccer team that improved to 5-1-1 Tuesday with a 4-1 home victory over Rhode Island College, the Rams’ best start in more than a decade.
A sophomore transfer from Saint Anselm College, she has compiled a 3-0-1 record with three shutouts, an 0.47 goals against average, and .933 save percentage.
“Sara is a vocal, precise, and knowledgeable keeper who does a great job directing our back line,’’ said FSU head coach Tucker Reynolds, who had tried to recruit her out of high school. “She has fit in very well with her teammates and improves every day.’’
Elizabeth’s hand-eye coordination and determination have made her an ideal defensive specialist on the women’s volleyball team at Babson College, which improved to 9-6 after a five-set victory Tuesday evening over previously undefeated Springfield College.
Sullivan ranked second on the team with 155 digs, including nine vs. Springfield. Last season, as a freshman, she tied for the team lead with 53 service aces and was second in digs.
“Liz has the ability to read the play and is relentless in getting to the ball,’’ said Babson head coach Eric Neely, an Easton native and former Globe Coach of the Year at Ursuline Academy in Dedham.
“She has impressed everyone, our coaches and her teammates, with her dedication and intensity, and she made an immediate impact on our program.’’
When Liz took the court at Staake Gymnasium on the Babson campus on Tuesday, her sister — whose team had played earlier that day — and their parents, Brian and Patrice, were in the stands.
“Liz and I are both on the quiet side,’’ said Sara. “But when you get to know us, we’re more outgoing — and we’re definitely very competitive.’’
Brian Sullivan, a three-sport athlete at Boston College High School who works at a car dealership, and Patrice, a varsity women’s tennis player at St. Louis University and now a registered nurse, are loyal fans.
“We have their team schedules printed out and if the girls are playing at the same time, one of us goes to each game and then we text back and forth about how they’re doing,’’ said their father.
Liz, a 2011 Globe All-Scholastic in volleyball, led North Quincy to the South Sectional championship her junior season.
A two-year volleyball and tennis captain and Patriot League All-Star in both sports, she played No. 1 singles in tennis while her sister was at No.2.
“We’re each other’s best friend and we’re always in touch after our games. If one of us is down, we’ll pick each other up, stay positive and move on,” said Liz, who at 5-foot-7 is an inch shorter than Sara.
“We learned to play tennis at the Weymouth Club, and when we walk onto opposite sides of the court, we’re pretty competitive against each other.’’
The sisters have met in the singles finals of the Quincy Rec Tournament in their age bracket on several occasions, taking turns winning the title.
“Tennis has definitely helped me with quick movement to the ball and has helped me improve my defense on the volleyball court,’’ she added. “Tennis was fun, but I’ve gotten to love the team aspect of volleyball.”
Sara, also a team captain and league all-star in both sports for the Red Raiders, was relegated to scrimmages last fall with the Saint Anselm soccer team.
“I needed a fresh start and I had talked to two of my high school friends on the Framingham State team (Jillian Carchidi and tricaptain Cara Murtagh), who had good things to say about the school and the program,’’ recalled Sullivan.
“I’m just trying to focus on helping organize the defense and even though I’m on a new team, I’m not feeling nervous or under pressure,’’ she said. “I worked really hard over the summer and I’m excited to get the opportunity to play. My footwork and reaction, because of tennis, really helped me step back in.’’
Sullivan’s Framingham State teammates also include senior tricaptain Mary Brinkmann (West Bridgewater High), Danielle Whall (Foxborough High), and Elizabeth Fox (East Bridgewater High).
Her sister is joined on the Babson roster by Mary Donahue (Braintree High), the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2012, who had a career high 21 kills vs. Springfield; versatile Krissy Robertson of Dedham (Ursuline), who tied her career high Tuesday with 30 assists; starting middle blocker Alanna Atchison (Pembroke High), and Paige Sawyer of Canton (Ursuline).
Here and there
Rockland High’s Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Rockland Golf Course. The inductees are Willard Lewis (Class of 1945), Paul Hoss and Peter Hoss (’65), Donna (Girouard) Rinella (’67), Steven Owen (’72), Mark Laramee (’98), and Elizabeth Lima (2001). Tickets are available for $25 at the high school athletic office. The contact is AD Gary Graziano at 781-871-8407 or at graziano@ rocklandschools .org. . . . South Shore Kings teammates Tyler Piacenti of Weymouth and Kyle Lebrun of Bridgewater are among 14 freshmen hockey recruits at Division 3 power Norwich University.