Three Kotuskys better than one
The Kotusky sisters (from left to right, Emma, Olivia, Amelia) have been a big piece to the Belmont girls’ soccer puzzle this fall. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 03, 2011BELMONT – Don't tell the Kotusky family that three's a crowd.
While the Belmont High School girls' soccer team has put together quite an impressive season to this point, the Lady Raiders owe plenty of thanks to the talented trio of sisters Olivia, Emma and Amelia Kotusky. With all three girls fixtures in the starting lineup, Belmont has found itself near the top of the Division III standings this fall.
"It's a blast to play with them," said Olivia, the oldest Kotusky and a senior co-captain who starts in the midfield. "I love my sisters so it's the best of both worlds to be able to play soccer with them on the same team."
This season is actually the first time the trio has ever been on the same squad together, as Olivia (a senior), Emma (junior) and Amelia (freshman) have enjoyed the experience of calling each other teammates.
"(Olivia and Emma) have played on the same team before so it's a change for me to now be on the same team with them," said Amelia, the team's starting goalkeeper. "I like knowing they're in front of me on the field, it makes it a little easier."
Emma, who is recovering from an injury that has forced her to miss some time this season, is a starting defender on the squad and takes particular pride in serving as part of the last line of defense in front of her younger sister.
"It's cool knowing that (Amelia's) behind me and she also knows that I'll do everything I can to protect her in goal," said Emma.
For her part, Belmont coach Amy Dutton has taken full advantage of the talented trio, and she knew she had something special on her hands even before the season began this fall.
"With those Kotusky girls, you never have to pump them up," Dutton explained. "Being a new coach, they greeted me with open arms and they've all helped make this season a success. They're just a fun, great group of girls. They have great personalities and a great sense of humor that draws people to them."
While Amelia wasn't a goalie last year before entering BHS, Dutton and company worked with her over the summer to get her ready to handle the varsity duties. The fact that she was very familiar with the majority of the team made the transition that much easier.
"I knew all the girls coming in because of my sisters so I kind of came right in and wasn't shy about it," Amelia said.
The results were solid right off the bat, as Amelia and the Raiders posted three shutouts in the team's first four games to set the tone for the rest of the regular season.
"I never doubted her," said Olivia. "And with each game she's gotten better and better, more and more comfortable, I think."
Emma and the defense were a big part of that initial success, as the veteran corps of Sam Phelps, co-captain Kim Allen and Lauren Price made sure the youngster wasn't bombarded with shots right away.
"We're all confident in her," said Emma. "And as her sister, I don't want anyone getting close to her when she's in net. Even if that means keeping them out myself."
All three girls have different personalities on and off the field, though there are certain things that can almost always be counted on with the trio. Olivia admits she takes on that role of being the oldest, protecting her younger sisters in whatever problems arise.
"We joke around about her being our mother," said Emma with a laugh.
Amelia also sees differences between her two older siblings.
"Olivia is definitely the quieter one," she explained. "She's more vocal on the field though. But she's also the nicest one in that if you have a bad game, she's very encouraging, she'll try and cheer me up. Emma's the one that will joke around with you and stuff but then she takes that extra step to defend you on the field as well."
Dutton knows the trio is unique, and the long-time Winnisquam boys' soccer coach can't recall a team she had with more than two siblings during her tenure.
"It's a special moment for them as sisters to get to play together like this," the coach said. "With Amelia, we worked with her all summer and I really think by her junior year, she could be one of the best keepers in the state. Olivia as a captain has just made this season great from the beginning, her and Kimmy (Allen) are just fantastic. And Emma is so tough on the field, she's turning into a great leader and someone who I'm looking forward to seeing play for the rest of her career here."
With the regular season winding down and playoffs on the horizon, all three Kotuskys are concentrating on making their season together as long as possible.
"I'm just looking to us getting even better as the season winds down," said Olivia. "We still haven't played our best in a game this season, I think we're capable of playing really well if we can put it together."
"We have a lot of potential," the rookie keeper said. "I think we can go far, it's just a question of how well we can come together when it counts."
Emma hopes the ride takes them all the way to November, as the state championship game for Division III is scheduled for Nov. 5.
"I just want to go as far as we possibly can," she said. "I think we all have high hopes for this team."
And to get there, all three Kotuskys will be counted on continue playing at the high level Dutton has become accustomed to this fall.
"With Amelia in net, Emma in the back and Olivia in the middle, we've got a Kotusky in every lane but up top," Dutton said. "And I feel very fortunate to have them there."