Nov. 13, 2010
By Amy Farnum
Being a part of a team that participates in an NCAA Tournament is sure to be a very special memory for any player, and for two sets of siblings in Division III soccer, their memories are certain to be even more extraordinary with a brother or sister sharing the experience.
Tyler and Travis Wall make a dynamic scoring combination as forwards for No. 2 Ohio Wesleyan (16-1-2), which won the North Coast Athletic Conference title to automatically qualify for the programs NCAA-record 33rd Division III Mens Soccer Championship appearance. In Division III womens soccer, Amy and Katie Kuykendall are stars for No. 2 Hardin-Simmons, which enters the weekend with a 19-0 record.
Like so many siblings across the nation the Walls and Kuykendalls started playing soccer at an early age, spending the majority of their time on the field with club and high school teams, and playing one-on-one in their yards with each other when they werent at a game or practice.
We played a lot at home,” said Tyler Wall. We always played on Sundays together in our front yard.”
The Wall brothers signed up for youth soccer after seeing their sister Sarah garner success in the sport. Sarah went on to play at Ohio Wesleyan (2002-05), helping her team win a national championship and earning three All-America awards.
Tyler followed in his sisters footsteps and headed to Delaware, Ohio, four years ago. However, Travis, who is a year younger, was not so quick to head to OWU, just 30 minutes from the Walls hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Travis looked at some Division I schools, and originally verbally committed to Cincinnati after the Bearcats offered him a partial scholarship early in his senior year.
I went to all my brothers games and went to visit him a lot, and got to know the players and coaches better than I originally had (when he committed to Cincinnati),” said Travis Wall. Over time, I just realized that was where I wanted to play and thats where I belonged.”
The decision worked out well, especially this season as senior Tyler leads the Bishops with 16 goals and 37 points, while junior Travis tops the team with 11 assists and ranks second on the squad with 27 points.
For the last three years, I dont know how many goals theyve assisted for each other, but its a whole bunch,” said head coach Jay Martin. They just have a sixth-sense and play very well together.”
Martin certainly knows about coaching sets of brothers as the Walls are the 11th pair he has coached in 33 years at OWU.
Tyler is a very good one-on-one player … very quick tremendous speed,” said Martin. Travis does not have that speed or quickness, but hes more powerful. Hes bigger and stronger, and can hold the ball a little bit better. As a result, their styles really complement each other on the field.”
Travis agrees that the difference in styles has benefitted the brothers, who also played together on youth club teams and for three years in high school. He says one of his favorite moments of playing with his brother was when the duo got its first goal-assist combo as college players last year.
Tyler is known for his dribbling ability and can pretty much go by anyone around him,” said Travis Wall. Im more known for passing and pulling the ball up a little bit more. Im the guy the defense or midfielders will kick the ball up to and my job is just to hold it until Tyler gets close to me. Then we just pass between each other. Weve played together for so long and are around each all the time that we know each others habits.”
The Bishops enter the weekend on an eight-game winning streak as they travel to York, Pa., for a first round game against Catholic University on Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The winner of the game will meet the winner of York (Pa.)-Kenyon in a second-round contest on Nov. 14.
Amy Kuykendall brought home a flyer about youth soccer in the first grade, and she not only got her younger sister Katie to play as soon as she turned six years old, but the whole family to get involved in the sport.
Our parents got really involved in our youth association, and dad was the president,” said Amy Kuykendall. We would spend our whole Saturday out at the soccer field. When we werent playing with our teams, we were playing around with our friends and our cousins and each other. We always had a soccer ball around.”
When Katie, who is three years younger, was not playing with her own club team, she was heading over to Amys practice to play.
I always wanted to play with her team and compete with the big girls,” said Katie Kuykendall. It definitely made me a lot better.”
The Kuykendalls chemistry grew as they got older and despite playing together in high school for just one year, it was evident that they had a special bond on the field.
We had this little joke that I could just pass it in the middle of nowhere and would end up at her feet somehow and she would score a goal,” said Katie Kuykendall.
Amy moved on to Hardin-Simmons and was one of the best freshmen in the nation, but it when it came time for Katie to choose a college, the elder thought the younger would want to make a name for herself somewhere else.
I hoped she was considering it, but at the same time I knew she would probably go to a school where she wouldnt be Amys little sister,” said Amy Kuykendall. I was ecstatic when she decided to come here. Of course, now Im known as Katies older sister.”
Katie had a lot of Division I offers, so when I was recruiting her I told her that there was room enough here for both of you to shine,” said HSU head coach Marcus Woods. I think its played out that way.”
Amy ranks fifth in the nation with 1.358 goals per game, while Katie leads Division III with 1.05 assists per game.
Amy is a sprinter,” said HSU head coach Marcus Woods. Shes 5-10 and strong and runs by people. Her game is based on power and speed. Katie is more of a clever, finesse player. She has a similar speed to Amy, but not the breakaway speed. She is a thinker. When she gets the ball at her feet, she wants to make the clever pass or serve a ball.”
Katie definitely gets put in the position to get a lot assists because she can serve a great corner and she has an awesome long throw and those lead to those opportunities,” said Amy Kuykendall. I guess Im there to get on the end of it. I know where she can serve it to -- I know where she can throw it.”
Hardin-Simmons will host first and second round games this weekend. The Cowgirls will play Principia (Ill.) on Nov. 13, while the other contest will feature Puget Sound and Trinity (Texas). The winners will play in a second-round game on Nov. 14.