By MIKE MEILER
Niagara Gazette — It's tough to get an accurate read on Marissa and Marina Campbell.
The twins, both freshmen at Niagara Catholic, are somewhat quiet and come off as quite shy.
That all changes, though, when the girls hit the soccer pitch. The duo is leading a freshmen renaissance of Niagara Catholic girls soccer, playing key roles in the team's 5-3 start.
"When they first stepped on the field, they were very shy," said first-year Patriots coach Jordan Puzan. "You never really know a girls' skill level until they go out and play. They starting playing and you could tell right away that they were special. The way they can find each other on the field without their heads being up ... we call it the Campbell Connection."
The girls, now 14, have been playing soccer together in Niagara Falls since they were 4 years old. They started playing for the Whirlpool Park Little League, and have since moved on to the Niagara Police Athletic League, where they play for the Lady Bulldogs.
"We've been playing together so long," Marina said. "It's like the (U.S. Women's National Team). They've been playing together and practicing together for so long that they know where they'll be all the time. That's how we are."
Marina benefits from the connection most on the scoresheet. The forward leads Niagara Catholic in goals this year, many of which were set up by her sister.
"Marina has a different attitude. She's got an attitude in a good way," Puzan said. "She has a drive, a forward mentality. She has a little cockiness to her, but in a good way."
"Everyone loves to win, to try to pump up the team," Marina said. "I like scoring because it helps us win, so I try to score whenever I can."
Marissa is more laid back than Marina. She plays midfield and said she prefers helping her teammates to score.
"I really like running around a lot," she explained. "I don't really like to stay in one spot. It helps me control the field and the game. I like helping the defense and getting the ball to the forwards."
"I can always count on her because she knows how to send a good through ball to me," Marina said. "If it's a good ball, I can just run up and score."
The sisters headline a strong freshmen group on the team. Puzan said ninth-graders make up a big part of her defense, which she credits with a lot of the Patriots' success on the pitch.
With four years to grow together, things could be exciting for the team's future.
"I'm really excited," Marina said. "It's a challenge playing varsity, but I like the challenge. We've got good coaches and good teammates and should have a good team for a couple of years."