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Sister act helps lift Seaford's spirit

From left, Seaford field hockey sisters Mackenzie, 15,

From left, Seaford field hockey sisters Mackenzie, 15, Kelly, 14, and Melissa Wolfson, 17, pose for a portrait before their game against Locust Valley. (Oct. 17, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Which Wolfson is the best field hockey player?

Kelly Wolfson grinned when asked the question and readied for a quick response . . . then she paused and looked to her right. Melissa Wolfson shot her a look -- an unspoken "ah-hem."

"Oh, Melissa, of course," Kelly said, taking her cue from big sis. "She's the most talented and experienced."

Mackenzie Wolfson, in middle-sister fashion, looked at both siblings, shook her head and burst into laughter.

There's been a lot of that this season for Seaford. Teams often compare themselves to family, but this group can certainly make that claim. With three sisters on the squad, field hockey really is a family affair.

"That connection they have is special," said Emma Bausert, a senior who played two seasons with her own older sister, Samantha. "Everyone sees it and starts wanting to bond more."

That unity has helped Seaford (2-10) weather a difficult season. "It's been tough," forward Kara Murphy said, "but on a team this tight, there's never finger-pointing and we keep our spirits up."

Melissa Wolfson, 17, is a senior midfielder who made varsity in ninth grade. She was joined the following year by Mackenzie, now a junior defender. "I didn't even know what field hockey was until I went to one of [Kelly's] games," Mackenzie, 15, said. "She was my influence."

The two have a give-and-take relationship on the field, they said. Melissa, as a midfielder, is more vocal, but Mackenzie takes charge "when she's in my zone on defense."

This season 14-year-old Kelly made the team as a freshman goalie. Melissa said she "always thought it was a possibility" to eventually play with both sisters, convinced that Kelly was talented enough to be promoted quickly. "This is a perfect way for me to go out as a senior," she said.

It does factor on the field.

Kelly said she feels more confident in the goal knowing Mackenzie is on defense. "It's my little sister back there," Mackenzie said, "so as a sweeper, I need to have her back." Melissa said those two have inspired her to improve defensively.

"You never want to disappoint your family," said Murphy, adding that the players call coach Cara Cacioli "Mom." "Even with our struggles, this is the closest team I've ever been on and it's because of the sisters."

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