It didn’t take long for Katie Carlson’s sisterly instincts to kick in.

It was the first preseason practice for the Northeastern University field hockey squad, and players were in the middle of an annual conditioning test that amounted to about 11 minutes of shuttling quickly back and forth across the new turf field at the school’s Dedham campus.

Carlson, a junior captain from Watertown, had completed the test in the past, but this year was different. Her younger sister, Alyssa, a freshman, was running just a few yards away, and Katie thought she saw her falling behind.

“Come on, Alyssa!” Katie shouted.

Both ended up passing the test with time to spare, the first of many challenges that the sisters will encounter in a season that opens Aug. 30 at home against Monmouth and stretches into November.