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Family feel aids run to Class 1 final four
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- A new teammate is helping make this year's run to the Class 1 final four more exciting for St. Vincent midfielder Emily Cissell.
The junior played a key role in the Indians' championship last season by scoring twice in the state semifinals and once in the state title game. This year she's getting to share the ride back to the final four with her sister, freshman midfielder Holly Cissell.
"She's always my sister, but now she's more like my friend too because I'm playing with my friends," Emily said. "Almost every night we talk about things we need to work on, things we're going good at."
Holly got the opportunity to watch the final four games last season, but she's savoring being a part of the action as a starter alongside her sister this season.
"It was definitely weird at first because I've always seen her playing, but I've never actually played with her," Holly said of Emily. "She helps me out a lot because she's been on this team before and knows how everybody plays together."
The Cissell sisters aren't the only related players on the Indians' roster. Sophomore Abby Lappe and seniors Megan Sutterer and Rachel Sutterer are cousins.
"We know each other's skills and how each other plays really well," Lappe said. "We know where they're going to be all the time on the field."
But Rachel Sutterer said the strong bonds aren't limited to family members this season.
"I feel like this year we're more of a family than anything," she said. "I know the other girls would have my back for anything. I think we talk more to each other. We kind of anticipate where each other is going to be, almost like a sister thing."
The relationships started strengthening when the current seniors started playing together on youth teams. The seniors, along with juniors Valerie Smith and Emily Cissell, played on the same teams growing up and have developed chemistry on the field.
"We know what each other is capable of and their abilities," Rachel Sutterer said. "We know that if we kick the ball to them, they're going to be there. We know how fast to kick it and how hard and they'll be there."
The Indians feature a balanced lineup with seven seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen. The seniors have tried to create an atmosphere where age doesn't matter.
"We're open to each other," Megan Sutterer said. "We don't leave anybody out. Even though we're different ages, we still come together as a team.
"Our group of seniors, we've gone through past years and seniors say seniors have priority. We've learned to be more open because we didn't like it when we were freshmen, so we were a little more open."
She added that the team's openness has paid off on the field.
"Our team, I think, we're pretty good at taking an assist instead of a goal most of the time," Megan Sutterer said. "It helps to avoid the conflict because then people aren't fighting on the field and stuff."
When conflicts do arise, the players try to resolve them before they get out of hand.
"I don't think we've ever gotten in any arguments with each other," Rachel Sutterer said. "I think that's one thing about this team compared to last year. We get along better. ... We don't have attitudes with each other. I think that's what kept us strong as a team and helped us get this far."
St. Vincent is hoping the team's closeness helps it continue to enjoy success today and Saturday.
"I know as a senior, I want to go out there and not have any regrets, leave nothing behind," Rachel Sutterer said.