So many siblings
“It’s always nice to have siblings in your program. I think it’s good for team chemistry. When people love a program and their siblings follow the older players, I think it’s a good system and a good place to be,” according to Gary Gait, the head coach of Syracuse men’s lacrosse.
Over the weekend, Gait’s squad took down North Carolina 15-14 in Olney, Maryland for its first ACC win since March of 2021. Despite the loss for the Tar Heels, Gait’s thoughts, which he shared during middle of the week media availability, definitely apply.
North Carolina men’s lacrosse has four sets of twins and a pair of non-twin brothers.
The Tar Heels have two sets of freshmen twins: Nick and Dom Pietramala, the sons of Syracuse defensive coordinator Dave Pietramala; plus, Graham and Alec Riddle.
The Riddles are tall. Alec is listed at 6’5”, 206; Graham is listed at 6’6”, 208. Both players are defensemen.
“I could never really tell them apart without their jerseys,” Scott Conklin, their high school coach at Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia said.
But despite the large frames, Conklin, a Syracuse native and the older brother of twin siblings, referred to them as “gentle giants,” and thinks that they play with finesse. He noted that their size, style of play, a background in hockey, and good communication skills–because they are twins– made them super effective defenders who intercepted and deflected many passes. As juniors, the Riddles led Episcopal to a state title.
Alec and Graham have only appeared in two games each this season for UNC.
Johnny and Tyler Schwarz are sophomore twins on the team. Tyler has appeared in seven games as a defender. Johnny, meanwhile, has started in nine and played in 11 as a midfielder.
The last pair of twins are Henry and Harrison Schertzinger. They are identical. Each of them is listed at 6’1”, 195. In high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, both twins tore their ACL. Henry was out for their junior season, while Harrison missed the senior campaign. But the timing of the injuries was notable.
“Henry’s last visit to the doctor was yesterday and my first one was yesterday. We don’t see it as a coincidence. That’s kind of God saying ‘We’ll be alright,’” Harrison said in April of 2018.
The Schertzingers have certainly been alright for the Tar Heels this season. Harrison has played in 11 of the 12 games. Henry has accumulated 12 points and seven caused turnovers while starting all 12 contests.
The non twins are the Egans: Dewey and Evan. In high school, both brothers were the Avocado Player of the Year, San Diego Player of the Year, United States-West Player of the Year, and were also Under Armour All Americans.
“The two of those guys really set the standard for things that had never been done for west coast kids,” Jono Zissi, their coach at Torrey Pines, said.
Zissi noted that there was a little sense of sibling rivalry-Evan being older than Dewey- but the two of them were so tight with one another that it didn’t matter.
“They literally are best friends. I would even use the word ‘obsessed,’ with each other,” Zissi said.
Not only would they point to each other when one of them would score a goal, but there was an “instant magnetism,” between them; “the first person they went to was one another,” Zissi said.
Coach Zissi brought up another interesting point.
“Evan could give Dewey feedback, but if anyone else said something to Dewey, Evan would be like, ‘what’d you say to him?’ I think they were able to give each other motivation and constructive criticism, but [they were also] very guarded and protective of one another.”
“They had a lot of battles growing up. I think it helped each other become good. Certainly with Evan and Dewey (they have another brother, Brendan) they would do one on ones all the time,” Zissi said.
Dewey has seven goals in six games as a sophomore attacker. Evan, a grad student at Chapel Hill, has recorded seven ground balls and four caused turnovers in 10 starts on defense.