LYNNFIELD — It’s been a whirlwind week for twin sisters Brianna and Ashley Barrett, captains of the Lynnfield High field hockey team. Last weekend, the Pioneers came as close as you can get to knocking off nine-time defending state champion Watertown in the semifinals of the North Division 3 tournament, only to lose a 2-1 thriller.
Wednesday afternoon, the twins were back at Lynnfield High with family, friends and coaches signing their NCAA letters of intent to play Division I field hockey at Virginia Commonwealth.
“These two girls have sacrificed a lot to get this,” said Lynnfield coach Mamie Reardon. “They have done so much to get our program up a notch in terms of excitement about the sport and increased interest. Once they decided to go for playing DI, they went the whole way to be the best they could be. Nobody deserves this more than they do as they have worked incredibly hard for it.”
The Barretts were four-year varsity veterans for the Pioneers. They hit the ground running as freshmen, with each securing a starting role in no time. Brianna moved to center-mid last year, while Ashley has been a mainstay up top at forward.
This year, both players were named Cape Ann League First Team All-Stars. Ashley led the Pioneers in scoring this year and finished the regular season with 19 goals and 12 assists, while Brianna finished with three goals and eight assists.
The twins have been selected to play in the 2018 Massachusetts State Field Hockey Coaches Association’s annual Best of 60 Senior All-Star game scheduled to be played Sunday at Bentley.
The twins said their interest in VCU began when they attended a college showcase at the UMass Amherst last June. They were also considering Holy Cross, Fairfield, Stonehill and Bentley, but settled on VCU after multiple visits.
Ashley plans on majoring in health sciences then go into nursing, while Brianna plans to major in computer science and then look for a career in cyber-security.
Both Barretts are excited to begin the next chapter of their lives at VCU, but will always carry fond memories of their four years at Lynnfield, especially this year’s fall season, when the Pioneers put together one of their best years in recent history.
The Barretts said they knew going into the season that the Pioneers had the right stuff to take the team to the next level.
They were right as Lynnfield came within a whisker of being “the” team to knock Watertown out of the tournament. The Pioneers had the lead with 12 minutes to go, but a couple of unlucky bounces and calls went Watertown’s way to end their dream of becoming only the second team since 2008 to hand Watertown a loss.
“We played our hardest to get to the point where we in position to win the game and I believe we were a better team, but sometimes the best team doesn’t win, said Ashley. “While we didn’t win, it was an awesome way to end.”
The Barretts officially report to Richmond on Aug. 7.
“We both know because it is DI we will have to work really hard to get play time,” said Brianna. “But we can’t wait to get there, we love the heat, we love the area and love the school. We are even going to a club tournament there on Thanksgiving, so we are looking forward to that.”
With the college decision behind them, the twins focus now turns to girls lacrosse next spring where the senior captains hope to help the Pioneers make a deep run in the state tournament.
“We will be working all all off-season to get stronger for VCU and for lacrosse season,” said Brianna. “Just like field hockey, we have a lot of returning players. We had a great season last year and won our first-ever tournament game, so the goal is to just win one more than that, get to the semis and see what happens from there.”