Sister acts power Poland

3 sets of siblings help Bulldogs to NE-8 title

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes (Top row) Poland sisters Samantha Masucci, Syda Masucci, Bella Milano, Talia Milano, (bottom row), Ariel Grischow and Avery Grishcow pose following a home match versus Niles last Monday. The three sets of sisters have been an important part of Poland’s success this season.

A pair of siblings on a roster always brings something special — two people that know each other inside and out and typically boasting outstanding chemistry on the field when it matters the most.

You don’t see two sets of siblings on the same team often.

Three sets of siblings? Now, that’s virtually unheard of.

Poland’s girls soccer program is one of those intriguing situations, fielding six girls — three sets of sisters — who don that the royal blue, graphite and white.

Besides being a fascinating statistic on the roster, it’s also paid dividends on the field, with the Bulldogs posting a record of 13-2-1, the ninth seed in the Division II Akron 1 District, holding a first-round bye and claiming a Northeast-8 title.

With two sets of sisters consisting of a freshman senior, this fall was the only chance for four to share a spot next to each other on the roster.

“They get along like sisters. You can always tell who the older one is, even at practice,” Poland coach Neil Huda said with a laugh. “It’s a pretty cool thing to have three sets here. It’s enjoyable; this is a first.”

Avery (senior) and Ariel (sophomore) Grischow had the opportunity to play soccer together last season, and Avery likes to prove that she’s the older sibling.

“Playing with my sister is different because it makes you want to be like a role model for her,” said Avery, who has eight goals this season. “Playing with my friends is fun. Yeah, I like showing (Ariel) who’s boss.

“I think whenever we have competition within the team, it pushes everybody and motivates them to play even harder at practice, which shows up at games.”

For Ariel, a midfielder and defender with three goals so far, playing with Avery is what pushes her on and off the field.

And sometimes, the younger sister wins at practice.

“Beating her makes me feel good about myself because in my opinion, she’s a really good player and one of the best on the team. So, it’s fun to play against her,” Ariel said. “But it’s also good to get tips from her because she’s that good.

“It’s weird because there’s three of us, but I guess it’s fun because they’ve all been close, and it’s just interesting to see everyone play together that you’ve known for so long.”

With youth soccer and other leagues in the area, many Poland athletes have competed with one another for a long time, building that family aspect within the community as a whole.

It’s not just soccer either. Take senior captain and second-highest goal-scorer Syda Masucci and her freshman sister Sammy Masucci, a twin-bill that will take to the field again in this spring as members of the Bulldog lacrosse program.

“I’m taking it in. I’m really appreciating it because I’ll probably go away to college, and I won’t see (Sammy) a lot,” Syda said. “It makes me really emotional. I’ve been playing soccer for awhile, and I’m not ready for it to end.”

Lessons from soccer can be conveyed during lacrosse as well, especially considering Sammy never has played the sport.

“It’ll be cool teaching her. She gets on my nerves sometimes, but I love her,” Syda said.

For Sammy, who also trains at karate, knowing Syda won’t be in town next year, she wants to learn every single thing she can about being a better person.

“We have had tons of success, and playing on the field with (Syda), not as a sister, but more of like one of my best friends, as a sister and playing at home, it’s different because we’re assisting each other and scoring together,” Sammy said. “That chemistry between us really shows the bond between the sisters on the field. You can just see how they love and work on the field, and how special that bond is, it’s not like any other bond between sisters.

“I’m just not looking at a coach or a person to help me (with lacrosse), I’m looking at a role model and an example to look at and show me her moves.”

For senior captain Bella Milano, time has gone full circle. Looking back fondly, she recalled sharing the soccer field as a freshman with her older sister Carly.

Now she’s a senior herself, with her sister Talia, a freshman, in tow.

“Every moment is special because I’m not going to play in college, and (Carly) isn’t playing in college. So the time on the field is limited, so just being able to have that time is special,” Bella said. “We all enjoy working out; we enjoy that stuff. I think it was passed down from our parents.

“I feel like we all want to help each other out and just work as a team instead of as an individual.”

At the end of day, soccer brings the sister duos together.

“I think it’s brought us closer because we’re with each other a lot. I like playing with (Bella) on the field, and during the games, she always helps me if I screw up. She’ll tell me what to do, and she’ll comfort me if I’m sad if I screw up,” Talia said. “Bella talks to me about stuff, she helps me with what everything is going to be like and stuff like that.

“I’m very sad that this is our only year. I wish we had at least two, but it’ll be a lot different without her because we’re just so close.”


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