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Sister act, take two

This is the second installment in a series of profiles of brothers and sisters who play for the same athletic team at Northeastern. Click here to read why the soccer squad’s Sinclair twins will play a major role in the future success of the black and red.

Kate Carlson, a third-year fullback for the field hockey team, spent the entire 2013 campaign on the sidelines with a stress fracture in her right foot. Despite the injury, she happily served as a vice-captain, helping the Huskies win eight games and reach the second round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

“I wasn’t a leader on the field because I was hurt, but I was still able to analyze plays,” says Carlson, who tallied two goals and two assists in her first two seasons with the black and red. “It kind of saved my life in a way because not being able to play was miserable.”

As an added bonus, she had the pleasure of coaching her little sister, Alyssa, a first-year midfielder who played backfield in her big sister’s absence. Alyssa tallied more than 61 minutes per game, good for sixth on the squad, and recorded her first collegiate point with an assist in a 5-3 win against La Salle in October.

“I wasn’t expecting to play as much as I did,” says Alyssa, “but once I stepped onto the field instinct set in and I quickly settled into my role.”

Head coach Cheryl Murtagh agrees, noting, “We needed Alyssa to play more without Kate, and she ended up earning her playing time.”

Kate, who underwent a surgical procedure in the fall to have a four-inch screw inserted into her foot, resumed physical activity with a long run on Christmas Eve, and expects to be fully healed by the start of the 2014 season.

The big sister is eager to return to the field alongside the little sister for the first time since high school, when the dynamic duo led their Watertown, Mass., squad to back-to-back state championships.

“Alyssa will probably make me look a little silly for a while because I’m kind of rusty,” says Kate, noting her sister’s slick ball handling skills and her ability to burn defenders with ease. Alyssa demurs, saying, “Katie is very strong on the ball, very protective of the ball.”

The Carlsons owe their athleticism to gymnastics, which they began before they could even walk. “My parents would kill me if I say this,” says Kate, “but they don’t have an athletic bone in their bodies. All of our athletic talent comes from gymnastics.”

“They are natural field hockey players, and I think they really enjoy being part of each other’s field hockey experience,” adds Murtagh. “I love their passion for the sport and hopefully we win a CAA championship with them on the team together.”