In their second season as captains of the Lynnfield field hockey team, Ashley and Brianna Barrett try to make their teammates feel like a family.
For the pair, that’s just natural.
The identical twins have been an integral part of the varsity program at Lynnfield High since their freshman year, when both earned starting slots as forwards.
Four years later, the Barretts have propelled the Pioneers to a 10-1 record and a spot in the Division 2 North tournament.
“They’re very aggressive, and you can’t teach that,” said coach Mamie Reardon .
“The ball will be coming in kind of a slow manner and they would like speed onto it, they would gather it, and then they would look to see what they can do to pass. Their level now is great. It’s why we are where we are right now.”
While they look and lead similarly — 5 feet, 5 inches tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, and a constant hunger for improvement — their playing styles are completely opposite. Brianna, now an anchor in the Pioneer midfield, is calm and poised as she sets up plays, so far assisting on four goals and scoring three of her own. Ashley, who plays a more aggressive game, has netted 13 goals along with eight helpers.
The twins say there is no competition between them on the field — in fact, they make each other better.
“Ashley being on the team really helps me because I have somebody who’s there to criticize me or tell me to do better,” said Brianna, one minute older than her sister.
“I kind of have my best friend, my cheerleader, but also somebody who’s going to keep me in line and be like, ‘you need to be better on this path or this shot.’”
And that twin telepathy thing? There might be some truth to it with the Barretts, at least on the field.
“Sometimes I can just have my head down and hit her with a pass, little things like that. It’s weird,” Brianna said. “I feel like we’re probably the best on the field together.”
“We’re best friends, so on the field it’s really fun,” Ashley said. “We do play off each other, we work off each other, and we’re able to have a good bond, which makes all of the team better.”
The Barretts, who also run indoor track and will captain the lacrosse team in the spring, received college offers to play at separate schools.
But for the pair that says they’ve never been apart (they share a bedroom at home), the decision to take their game to the next level was one they wanted to make together. After also considering Fairfield, Holy Cross, UMass Lowell, and Stonehill, the pair committed together to Virginia Commonwealth University.
“We’re best friends on and off the field,” Brianna said. “We’ve grown up being best friends. We knew we couldn’t go to college by ourselves. It’d just feel different at school, not having your best friend there.”
■ Walpole senior captain Audra Tosone was selected as a player of the month for September by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. The only honoree from Massachusetts and one of 18 selected nationally, averaged 3.6 points per game last month.
■ Watertown High product Jonna Kennedy , a freshman at Boston College, stayed tight in her fourth appearance of the season Saturday to help the ninth-ranked Eagles (8-4) to a 4-3 overtime victory over the University of California.
■ Somerset Berkley has outscored its opponents 35-1 in four games this month, led by senior captain Megan Salsinha , who has netted 16 goals for the No. 3 Raiders since Oct. 1.
■ Methuen is taking donations ahead of its Play 4 The Cure game, which the Rangers will host against Lawrence Friday at 4 p.m. Thus far, the Rangers have raised $260 toward their $500 goal through a donation page set up on CrowdRise.