Sisters square off as Duke tries to rebound

Most students spend Spring Break traveling home to see their family and friends. Two Blue Devils, though, plan to see their family-not in the comfort of home, but rather, on the field.

Senior midfielder Jess Adam and sophomore attacker Christie Kaestner play against their sisters in the week ahead, as No. 4 Duke (4-1) takes on No. 12 Vanderbilt Wednesday and travels to No. 7 Georgetown next Saturday. First, the Blue Devils host No. 8 Princeton Saturday at 12 p.m. in Koskinen Stadium as they try to rebound from their first loss of the year.

And while the Tigers (2-0) certainly pose a threat to the Blue Devils, Adam is just as excited to play the Commodores (1-2) during the vacation period because she will spot her sister, Anastasia, on the other side of the pitch.

"[Anastasia] and I are close, so it's fun to see her even though it's weird playing against her," Adam said. "I don't think there will be any situations where we have to guard each other. It's great to see her... though you always want to win against your siblings."

The Adam sisters, from Severna Park, Md., both attended Severn School and graduated one year apart. Each experienced tremendous success in high school., and both garnered All-American honors at Severn before splitting up to attend top collegiate programs.

The sisterly series is split right now, with the Blue Devils defeating the Commodores in Jess' sophomore year and losing to Vanderbilt in the senior captain's junior season.

"There has not been any trash talking," Adam said. "We aren't really big on that, though it would be nice to finish my career at Duke holding the upper hand in the matchup."

Kaestner, too, will try to add to the 2-0 series record she holds against her older sister, Ashby, when the Blue Devils finish their trio of matches against the Hoyas (3-0) at Multi-Sport Field in Washington, D.C.

"It's tremendous to play against her," Christie Kaestner said of her sister, a first-team All-American as a sophomore. "When I made the decision to go to Duke, I realized it would be me against her. It was so exciting last year during my freshman year to go on the field and play against her."

Duke defeated Georgetown in the regular season and in the first round of the NCAA tournament on its way to the national semifinals. In that tournament game, the sisters had an encounter on the field in which Christie turned one of Ashby's mistakes into the Blue Devils' first score.

"There was a sequence where Ashby got checked and missed a shot, and it ended up coming all the way down to the other end," Kaestner said. "Off of that, I ended up scoring and her error wound up into something good for us, which was fun because she's such a tremendous player."

The Kaestner sisters have always been competitive with one another. The family has a strong background in lacrosse, as the sisters' father, John, was a standout player for Maryland and their younger brother will play for Johns Hopkins next season.

Christie and Ashby, who hail from Trappe, Md., will have numerous fans in attendance next Saturday, including most of their family, former teammates and many of their town's residents. In the interest of remaining unbiased throughout the match, however, John Kaestner found a creative way to show support for both his daughters.

"My dad actually had a hat made last year with a K on the front for Kaestner in the color red because he went to Maryland," Kaestner said. "It has our names and the colors of our schools on the sides."

And as the Blue Devils look to get back on track after their first loss of the season, a week of wins would not only set them in the right direction, but also provide two sisters with some family bragging rights.


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