"We didn't really have a preference one way or the other as far as playing together in college, but when Mason was interested in both of us, we liked the idea of continuing to play together," Emma said. "We like that it's close to home and the whole team attitude is very positive."
(If this story sounds familiar, there's a reason for that. Another set of local twins, former Loudoun County standouts Allison and Emily Littell, played their freshmen seasons at George Mason this past fall. The Littells' positive experience with the Patriots ended up playing a role in the Lees' commitment to George Mason.)
Emma and Shannon's love for soccer has deep roots, stretching back to their own father's involvement in the sport. After playing soccer at Virginia Tech, their father served as D.C. United's senior director of operations and the venue director for the 2003 Women's World Cup, which was hosted by the United States.
Though they were in preschool at the time, the exposure to the sport's highest levels made an impact on them.
"We've had a lot of experience with watching the women's national team and other international teams play, even though we were very young," Shannon said. "As twins, we've always had someone there to train with, push each other and make us better."
The competitive fire burning in both twins helped accelerate their development on the pitch. Shannon has blossomed into a vocal co-captain with a booming foot used on free kicks and to clear the ball on the defensive end, anchoring a defensive unit that's allowed just 11 goals and recorded 13 shutouts in 21 games. And Emma has become a reliable force in the midfield, tallying three goals and seven assists for the explosive Bobcats.
Since joining Battlefield's varsity team as freshmen, the two have yet to lose a regional or state playoff game, and they don't intend on that changing this spring.
"It's definitely a weight on our shoulders, especially for the junior class trying to make it three years in a row," Emma said. "It's also motivating for the underclassmen to continue that tradition and get another one for the seniors. We're all very focused."
NUMBER CRUNCH: 19
Games in a row won by Dominion's unbeaten boys' lacrosse team. The Titans' latest victory, a 13-9 result against Freedom-South Riding on Thursday, secured their first Virginia 4A North region title.
PHOTO GALLERY OF THE DAY
Osbourn Park repeated as Virginia 6A North region softball champs behind the pitching of Emily Weatherholtz in a 2-0 shutout of Madison. Here's the story and below are photos from the action.
- class="relative gallery-container">Potomac Falls’ girls and Stone Bridge’s boys’ both repeated as Virginia 5A North region lacrosse champions Thursday.
- Grant Goodwin and George Mason’s boys’ soccer team will vie for the Virginia 2A East region title today during a season that’s far exceeded expectations.
Chantilly at Battlefield, 7 p.m. in Virginia 6A North region baseball final
The surging Bobcats will host Chantilly, which won the region title in 2014, in what should be a competitive battle of wills on the diamond with a whole lot of purple in the stands. Follow me on Twitter (@brandoncparker) for updates.