BRISTOL - When Bristol Easternâ€™s No. 1 doubles team takes the court this season, itâ€™ll be a sisterly affair.
Kelly and Kasey Simpson are paired up this year with the Lancers for the first time since joining the team.
The two are 13 months apart. Kelly is a junior and Kasey a senior. They just picked up their first win of the season together against Bristol Central this week.
â€śMost people do know that weâ€™re sisters and I think that just adds to the excitement of it,â€ť Kasey Simpson said. â€śItâ€™s definitely exciting to have gotten our first win against Central when the stakes are high.â€ť
For the duo, soccer had been their spring sport coming into high school. They picked up tennis when they got to Bristol Eastern and have been growing on the court ever since, something that should continue to happen this season.
As they described each otherâ€™s games, both smiled and laughed at each otherâ€™s weaknesses on the court - â€śKasey likes to hit it in the net,â€ť Kelly said. â€śKelly doesnâ€™t hit her first serve,â€ť Kasey said.
It is clear that the Simpson sisters are already having a fun time playing together in Kaseyâ€™s final semester at the school before going off to college.
While they pointed out each otherâ€™s weaknesses, the two have plenty of strengths on the court and the first win may just be the beginning of a successful season.
â€śI think the dynamics between them are just going to grow with every game,â€ť Bristol Eastern coach Barb Lessard said. â€śTheir camaraderie, movement and closeness together is really going to continue throughout the season and beyond. I thought them being sisters and playing together would be very unique and something that would be really good for them. I see them growing and I think theyâ€™re going to improve a lot. The more that they play together the better theyâ€™re going to become. Every match theyâ€™re going to get more confident. Theyâ€™ll do well.â€ť
With their style of play and the way they address the doubles game, it makes for a good pairing.
â€śItâ€™s a lot of fun,â€™ Kasey said. â€śWe tease each other, but I trust her as a partner. Itâ€™s a lot easier to jump into matches being able to trust the player Iâ€™m with instead of taking half the season to bond.â€ť
Kelly brings the analytical side to the game and helps Kasey, the harder hitter, find weaknesses in their opponents.
â€śWe have different playing styles,â€ť Kelly said. â€śBut we work well together because we know what each other are thinking. We grew up together, so I know what Kasey is thinking about.â€ť
In the first two matches, the two struggled at times communicating on the court, something that they did well against the Rams. Adjusting to a new partner is always tough and having a sister playing with you can make it even more challenging. Itâ€™s no different than the relationship the two share on an everyday basis, though.
â€śWe do butt heads on the court,â€ť Kasey said. â€śBut itâ€™s the same thing as us fighting over clothes. At one minute weâ€™ll be doing that and then the next weâ€™ll be out here playing together, so itâ€™s a lot of fun.â€ť
Kasey is set to attend Simmons College next year and plans on studying nursing. She is undecided about playing tennis at the school, although itâ€™s a possibility.
Kelly has one year left after this season, but the two are solely focused on making this year the best season together before Kasey graduates.
â€śI donâ€™t know how much closer we can get,â€ť Kasey said. â€śBut definitely with me leaving for college in the fall, playing together is a nice thing to do before I leave.â€ť
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ