The North Meck girls' soccer team has always had a family atmosphere, but this season it's just a little more tight-knit.
Four of the major reasons are two pairs of sisters - identical twins Morgan and Lindsey Byrne (both sophomores) and senior Katherine Rusk and her younger sister, sophomore Emily Rusk.
"I think it helps our team a lot because it makes us that much more familiar with each other and that much more in sync," said North Meck head coach Neil Roberts.
The Viking quartet are also four of the major reasons why North Meck finished the season in first-place in their conference.
North Meck (13-3-2, 9-0-1 in the I-Meck) is ranked No. 6 in the state and No. 9 in the Observer's Sweet 16, winning their fourth straight conference title in a row - three in the ME-CA 7 and one in the I-Meck.
The Vikings' have strength on both offense and defense, as North Meck averages nearly four goals per game while giving up less than a goal per contest.
Morgan Byrne, who has seven goals to go along with six assists, and Katherine Rusk have been major contributors to the offense.Their sisters, Lindsey Byrne and goalkeeper Emily Rusk have been standouts on defense.
Emily Rusk has allowed only two goals all season in her time at goal, including recording eight shutouts.
"We really enjoy playing together," Morgan Byrne said. "We all work very well together and I think it makes our whole team just that much better."
Last week it showed on the field, as Morgan Byrne scored two goals in her team's 4-0 win over Mallard Creek. In the same game, Emily Rusk got the shutout. Lindsey Byrne and Katherine Rusk also made several key plays in clinching the conference championship.
"This is a team that welcomes any challenge at any time," said Roberts, whose team has won nine of 10 games going into the state playoffs.
"Early on, we took a few hits in the non-conference against some good teams, but now we have really gotten on a roll."