Nov. 26, 2008
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For as long as they can remember, twin sisters Molly and Megan Kinsella have been compared with one another. Whether it was school, athletics or even the way they tied their shoes, the Kinsellas couldn't escape the comparisons.
The place where those comparisons were most evident was on the soccer field. Since picking up the sport at age five, the Kinsellas have spent every moment of their soccer careers as teammates.
Not only did they spend all their time on the field together, they also spent most every moment at home together as roommates. Even if they wanted to get away, it was practically impossible with seven children in their family.
So when it came time for the two to select their college destinations, neither one could blame the other if she chose to go her separate way.
"I tried to make a decision based on what I wanted, and (Megan) made a decision based on what she wanted," Molly said.
Deep down, however, it did matter to the two of them even if they didn't want to disclose it at the time.
"I think it mattered to us, but we didn't want to admit it," said Molly, who is older than Megan by five minutes. "If I followed Megan to school, I didn't want to regret anything, so we tried to make decisions separately, but a big part was that if we got to play together, it would probably help us out."
Even though they knew it would be best if they played together in college, the two didn't jump at the opportunity when Vanderbilt offered each one a scholarship while they were in high school at St. Agnes Academy in Memphis.
"I looked more toward the East Coast in places like North Carolina and South Carolina because I didn't want to go that close to home," Megan said.
Molly was much more decisive with her decision, committing to the Commodores some four months before Megan.
"(Molly) knew what she wanted, and I wasn't too sure yet," Megan said. "I think we are where we want to be. We ended up in a good spot."
Vanderbilt fans couldn't agree more.
Since arriving on campus two years ago, the Kinsellas have been key cogs in Vanderbilt's starting lineup. Molly, a forward, and Megan, a midfielder/forward, are part of a sophomore class that was hailed as the best recruiting class in school history. Last season Molly was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after leading the Commodores with six goals to go with three assists. Megan tallied one assist in 2007, while playing in 17 games.
Although they continue to play for the same team, a rivalry that dates back to childhood is evident.
"I'd say (the rivalry) was more prevalent growing up at home," Megan said. "Though I always think that we try not to line up with each other in practice because it gets really competitive."
In part because of that rivalry that has developed over years of competing against each other and being compared with each other, the two have an innate ability to know exactly where the other is on the field at all times.
"The most beneficial thing about playing with each other for so long is that I always know where she is going to go on the field and her style of play," Molly said.
That knowledge that can only come from knowing someone better than anyone else also has allowed the two the freedom to offer coaching and criticism that only they can provide.
"After the game you want feedback from someone, and I always go to Megan because anyone else on the team is going to be scared that they are going to hurt my feelings with criticism," Molly said. "Megan will be honest with me."
Beyond the success on the soccer field, having one another at college has helped their relationship grow.
"Since we've gone to college we've had more similar interests, but before college we were very opposite," Megan said.
Molly added: "I feel like I'm a lot more laid back now (in college), but it was definitely opposite before. She was a lot more laid back and was the class clown, but now she's more determined and has her goals set."
For as much as the two have been compared throughout their lives, they don't have any regrets about continuing their careers together.
"It is great just always having someone to be there when you need them," Megan said. "It's been beneficial to play with Molly pretty much my whole life. She has helped me through hard times on the field and off the field."
Just like it's human nature to compare restaurants or movies, people will continue to compare the Kinsellas. One thing, however, you can't compare is whether the two are better together or apart.