Sisters Peyton, left and Maddie  Costello of Ward Melville pose for...

Sisters Peyton, left and Maddie  Costello of Ward Melville pose for a photo at the school on Thursday. Credit: Dawn McCormick

It’s a question that seemingly can’t be avoided when having two siblings so talented at the same craft and so close in age: Who’s better? It’s the question sisters Peyton and Maddie Costello hate the most, but also the one they are most used to hearing.

Peyton is a senior and Maddie is a junior for the Ward Melville girls soccer team. They're both on elite travel teams. They’ll both be playing Division I soccer. They were both integral to Ward Melville winning its first girls soccer state title in program history last season, taking the Class AA crown.

Being sisters and the stars of the team is an amazing advantage most of the time, but not so much when being asked the awkward question of, “Who’s the better Costello sister?”

“There’s a lot of comparison between me and Maddie,” Peyton said. “Some will say, ‘Oh, which Costello scored today?’ Or if you meet someone they’ll say, ‘Who’s the better sister?’ You get a lot of that. It gets annoying but you learn to deal with it because I think the best answer is, ‘We play different.' ”

Sisters Maddie and Peyton Costello of Ward Melville High School...

Sisters Maddie and Peyton Costello of Ward Melville High School are members of the 2022 NY state champion team, pictured here on Thursday, September 7, 2023 in East Setauket. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Different, but both dynamic. Peyton is committed to play at William & Mary and was a Newsday All-Long Island selection last year. Maddie announced a verbal commitment to play at Clemson on Friday. She was a defender for the United States Under-15 Women’s Youth National Team and played significant minutes in the team’s run to claim the CONCACAF U15 championship in Florida in August 2022.

“It’s so cool and just an honor to be able to represent the crest and just an unbelievable experience,” Maddie said. “I would just look around sometimes and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is really happening.’ "

Peyton went with her family to see Maddie play in the final. Although Peyton admits she would love the opportunity to do something similar, Maddie said Peyton has been completely supportive.

“I think I was the most excited person there,” Peyton said. “The younger sister element definitely makes it harder because if someone brings it up, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, it’s your younger sister,’ but I’m just like, ‘She’s good. You can’t deny it.’ ”

But those questions also gave Peyton a little more motivation to be at her best on the varsity field. She led Ward Melville with 12 goals, including two in a 3-1 victory over Massapequa in the Long Island Class AA championship.

“I think coming into the season, she wanted to establish she was the best player on the team, she’s the leader of the team and I think by all measures, she proved that she was,” coach John Diehl said. “It was nice to see them both have their moments in the sun.”

Maddie had five goals and five assists last season and Diehl said she is a player who often creates opportunities for others leading to a goal, even if she doesn't generate an individual point for it.

A casual observer can quickly realize the two are sisters. Not only do they look similar, Peyton wears No. 27 and Maddie wears No. 26. They are often yelling at one another on the pitch in a way you can’t get away with as just teammates. Peyton admits there may be times when she’s too vocal with Maddie, but the two say it’s all out of love. 

They both primarily play forward on varsity and the chemistry is clear whether it’s sending a cross or a through ball to one another, or serving as a distraction to get a teammate open.

“We push each other to be the best players and the best versions of ourselves that we can be,” Maddie said. “I always looked up to her when I was little, so looking up to a big sister who had the same aspirations was really nice.”

As for who is “better,” that’s a question without an answer.

“Yes, my sister is definitely better than me at things and I think I’m better than her at some things, so you can’t always give an answer for who’s better,” Peyton said. “So whenever we get asked the question we just say, ‘We play different.’ That’s our standard answer because we get it so often.”

Newsday LogoGiving you the best of Long Island lifestyle and entertainmentDigital AccessOnly 25¢