KINGSBURG — Chemistry is significant for a team’s success. For the Kingsburg girls soccer team, its chemistry could be due to many of the squad’s players having a close bond.
Throughout the Vikings successful 2017-18 season that included its second-straight Valley championship, a recurring theme for the girls was family.
Out of the 21 players on Kingsburg’s roster, 10 of its members are related to another member on the team. Out of those 10, eight of them are sisters and four of them are identical twins. And the other two family members are cousins.
“Even the ones that aren’t siblings, we just really work [well] together,” senior Gianna Alves said. “We spend a lot of time together, and we just create that family bond.”
Alves is one of the players who have a cousin on the team – senior defender Mary Rooney. Alves and Rooney have played on the same team since they were children.
“I think that all the girls who are siblings and who are blood [related] family on the team bring out that love and respect of family and it replicates on throughout the other girls,” Rooney said. “The sisters [on the team] bring out some funny stories from home and …it really builds this sisterhood.”
Other family members on the team include twins Lindsay and Lauren Ardavanis and Brianna and Caitlyn Vela. The Ardavanis are seniors and the Velas are freshmen. The team also includes two pairs of sisters who are Karlee and Khole Hodges and Jasmin and Denise Elias. The Hodges sisters are the daughters of head coach Scott Hodges. The parents of the Elias sisters, Omar and Josefina Elias, coach the junior varsity soccer squad at Kingsburg.
Cambria Brandon and Kylee Silva also are twins, but their twin doesn't play.
Lindsay Ardavanis said the team being family oriented is a significant factor for its morale on the field.
“I think that the way we treat each other when we come to practice and the way we treat each other in the game, that really shows how much of a family we are,” Lindsay Ardavanis said. “Often times in a stressful game, it’s easy to start yelling at one another and kind of put them down, but I think we truly just love each other and care for each other so much.
“You could kind of see with other teams sometimes that they start to panic and start to bicker with one another, but I think that the good relationships that we have makes us want to do good for each other.”
The Ardavanis twins both said “it’s been fun” playing on the same team and described each other as “best friends.”
“It’s been special for me and Lindsay because it's one of those memories that we’ll have for the rest of our lives,” Lauren Ardavanis said.
“I think skill will take you so far, but heart takes you farther,” Alves said about the team. “We’re hoping to come out strong and show what we have.”
Alves, Rooney, and the Ardavanis twins were a part of last year’s Valley championship that competed in the Southern Regional playoffs. The Vikings lost in the first round to Viewpoint in a 6-5 shootout. Kingsburg was a fifth seed in last year’s regional playoffs.
Lindsay Ardavanis said a Southern Regional championship is what they are aiming for after losing in a heartbreaker last season.
“We don’t want to limit ourselves for just a Valley championship,” she said. “We want to go as far as we can.”
For Lauren Ardavanis, she said this team is able to compete with larger schools in the Southern Regionals.
“We just lost in [penalty kicks last year], but it definitely showed us that we’re capable,” Lauren Ardavanis said. “I feel like we’re stronger this year and we’re ready to go and be really amped up.”