by Nick Kapatos
They are similar, but different. That’s the best way to describe the Voelkels, the Cooleys, and the Johnsons: three groups of brothers on the 2013 Ravenscroft Varsity Boys Lacrosse team.
“Having a pair of brothers on the same team is rare enough,” said head coach Sandy Kapatos. “But having three pairs on the same team is something I’ve never experienced before, and I’ve been coaching for 30 years.”
Carter ’13 and McLean ’15 Voelkel are the only pair of brothers to start on the same line. They are also the second and third leading scorers on a Ravens’ offense that has scored 100 goals through 11 games this season. According to the two attackmen, however, it’s never a competition.
“We’re naturally competitive, but we don’t really purposely compete against each other,” said Carter.
The Voelkels, who have been on the same starting attack line for the last two seasons, believe they fill very important roles on the offense. According to McLean, he sees himself as a finisher and a facilitator, while Carter is the better dodger and leader of the two. “He’s definitely the better player, and I try to learn from him as much as I can.”
While they may not start together, Alex ’13 and Robert ’16 Cooley both play crucial roles to the team that, according to their coaches, don’t show up on the stats sheet. “We both try to contribute any way we can to the team,” said Alex. “Stuff like picking up ground balls, and all the little things, is where we feel we contribute the most.”
The skills they bring to the field are different. “Alex is way better at penetrating the defense and drawing the slide than I am,” said Robert. “While I’m trying to work more on my shot than I think he has in the past.”
Then there is Kubi ’13 and Matt ’16 Johnson, the most different of the trio of brothers. While Kubi is a leader on defense, Matt is a young attackman. And Kubi doesn’t take it easy on his little brother when they go one-on-one in drills.
“It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you can see the grins on the coaches and the other guys,” said Kubi. “It’s that much more embarrassing if he puts a move on me, with everyone watching, so I just can’t let that happen.”
Although, according to Matt, they both started out as midfielders, the brothers changed positions when they joined the varsity squad. They attribute the changes to their current positions to having different mindsets.
“Even when I played soccer or football, I was always playing defense,” explained Kubi. “Matt, though, is always the one that wants to score the goals.”
All three seniors are captains and in their third years of starting for the Ravens, and they agree that they want their younger brothers to enjoy the time they have left.
“It feels like I was a freshman just yesterday,” said Kubi. “And now that I have less than a month left in my Ravenscroft lacrosse career, I’d say to take each day and focus on getting better.”
While the experiences and roles played by this trio of brothers might be different, the memorable season they desire is a goal shared by all.