When the Lady Bears say they are one big family, the players really mean it.
Mount Airy coach Will Hurley said he has several girls on the soccer team who are related to one another.
“I’ve never had triplets before in all the years I’ve been coaching,” said Hurley.
Ailia, Grace and Keara are the Halpern sisters, a trio of freshmen who have jumped right in to help the team.
Grace has played in 12 games and made 33 steals. Keara has played in eight games and got her first shot on goal against rival North Surry.
Kristen Collins was expected to be the Bears’ keeper this season, but she came down with mono at the start of the year and has yet to play.
Instead, Ailia stepped in and has played the majority of minutes at the position. She has stopped 96 shots against 38 goals allowed.
The other person to spend some time spelling Ailia is Maria Rodriguez, who stopped eight shots in her brief time at keeper.
Maria, a junior co-captain, also has 27 steals as a defender and two goals when moved up to the front line.
Maria has a sister on the team, Janett, but Hurley admitted to having trouble remembering her name in preseason practices.
The coach would yell out instructions to players by name, but when it came to Janett, all he could think to say was “sister.” The girls thought this was pretty funny, and it has caught on with the team.
Senior co-captain Vanessa Armenta also has a sibling on the team, half-sister Kimberly Lachino.
Armenta is third on the team in scoring and first in assists. She also has 30 steals.
Lachino, a sophomore, is second on the team in steals with 54 and has one goal.
As if that weren’t enough relatives, Hurley pointed out that Janeth Escutia has a cousin from each side of her family on the squad.
Jessica Escutia comes from her dad’s side of the family, and Jessica Miranda is on her mom’s side.
Co-captain Jessica Escutia is a junior who has 16 steals on the season. Janeth Escutia and Jessica Miranda are freshmen
Janeth has four steals, while Miranda has three goals and three assists.
The Bears might have had another set of sisters on the squad, but only one came out for the team.
Jade and Bree Hughes played on the tennis team in the fall and were cheerleaders at basketball games in the winter. Bree has two goals, an assist and five steals for the soccer team, but big sister Jade has been cheering her on from the stands.
The team also has a couple of Beasleys, but they aren’t sisters. Christy Beasley and co-captain Beasley Nester are seniors who have been a part of the Bears for years.
Christy has 23 steals on defense, while Nester has three goals and two assists to go with 20 steals in the midfield.