Sisters help Marquette High earn first-ever Suburban Conference title
By: Warren Mayes
A sisters’ act has helped the Marquette Mustangs capture their first Suburban Conference championship in the field hockey program’s history.
Marquette coach Richard Regina has two pairs of sisters playing this season for the Mustangs – freshman Carly Dyer and junior Brooke Dyer and sophomore Jessica Dunlap and senior Kelly Dunlap.
Carly is a starting forward. Brooke is a midfielder. Jessica is a starting forward who has played varsity since her freshman year. Kelly is a defender who was a 2011 All Conference selection as well as a starter on the 2010 Final Four team.
“It is definitely an interesting dynamic having two pairs of sisters on the same team playing significant quality minutes,” Regina said.
Kelly played high school field hockey for the first time during her sophomore year.
“Immediately, we felt the impact,” Regina said. “After just a few weeks on the JV, she got promoted to varsity, landed a starting spot on defense and played a vital role in us advancing to the Final Four. I would not necessarily call her a natural field hockey player, but man, is she a competitor and tireless worker on whatever athletic field she competes.”
Besides field hockey, Kelly also plays soccer and basketball at Marquette. She has been on the varsity of those sports since her sophomore year.
Jessica is a forward and a two-year starter. She adapts well to wherever she is on the field.
“Jessica actually is playing forward out of necessity for us as we have been battling injuries,” Regina said. “Ideally, she would play midfield as her fitness level is second to none and she can get up and down the field for 60 minutes. As a forward, she does a really good job of getting a shot off when she has it, and that ultimately leads to rebounds if it does not score.”
She also plays soccer and was a varsity soccer player as a freshman last spring.
“Playing with my sister (Kelly) is both a challenge … and reassuring,” Jessica said. “My sister and I sometimes disagree about field hockey, but I trust her to make smart, game-oriented decisions that help Marquette win.
“When my sister is out there playing with me, she brings real energy and an urgency to win that really rubs off on the rest of the team. I know I can trust Kelly to perform her role as both a player and captain.”
Regina said Kelly does take command on the field.
“Kelly is more vocal,” Regina said. “The two of them are driven in everything they do. Both are leaders and a key reason our team has the mental toughness it does.”
Brooke is a midfielder who contributes to the Mustangs’ success.
“Brooke starts some of the games, but when she does not, she still gives the team quality minutes on the field,” Regina said. “She accepts her role and knows it is an important one. She does not come into the game to just give a player rest; she plays because she can impact the game.
“Brooke is a smart player, and she knows where to be. She can make a play and find the open player for us; she is very versatile.”
“It’s so cool to have my sister on the same team,” Brooke said. “We work together so well partly because we know each other’s strengths and play on those. We played together on our club team during the spring so we had time to get used to it and it’s such a neat thing that not everyone gets to experience.
“This season is incredibly exciting. We are first time conference champs and we have a great team chemistry so it’s absolutely so much fun.”
Carly is a starter at forward. She is talented and that’s why she is starting as a freshman, Regina said.
“Carly is a natural in field hockey. She has been varsity caliber since she was in seventh grade,” Regina said. “She is one of the few players in the area that can create her own shot, and she does this as a freshman. You combine that with her drive for perfection, and Marquette has a game changer on the field.
“By putting her on the field, it is worth at least a goal whether it is hers or her setting up someone else. Also, she handles the pressure very well for a freshmen knowing the team is counting on her for offense. She plays like a senior in so many ways.”
Carly said her older sister helps her.
“We help each other out,” Carly said. “It’s also easier creating different plays with her from practicing them in the backyard so many times.”
“Bottom line, all four of them have the same goal to win,” Regina said, “so that quells much of the friction that would normally exist. It also helps that they play different positions, have different skills sets, all play huge roles, and they are on a very successful team. It is hard to be unhappy with that.
“I remind myself every day that I am very lucky to coach the girls I do at Marquette. As a varsity team last year, we had a 3.97 GPA, many players members of National Honor Society, and so many that take a rigorous load of classes. You combine that with them competing on the field at such a high level, and I know I am around the best of the best at Marquette. Those four are a big part of the culture that has developed in the field hockey program.”