BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School girls soccer coach Joe Johnson said his Rams have a solid bond and exceptional team chemistry.
And one of the primary reasons is the fact his team has three sets of sisters.
Senior Katerina Dagher is an outside midfielder and younger sister Anna-Maria, a junior, is a central midfielder-striker. Senior Anna Morris and freshman sister Grace are central defenders who play alongside each other and junior Mary Butler plays both striker-midfielder and freshman sister Katie is a midfielder.
Katie Butler is the only one who doesn’t start.
Johnson said when a team has three sets of sisters, it all but guarantees “a close-knit team.”
“It definitely brings us closer together and it translates to the rest of the team. Everyone feels it,” said Katerina Dagher.
“It’s a cool dynamic,” said Mary Butler. “I’ve never been on a team with three sets of sisters. I’ve been on one with two but never three.”
“It has been really fun. Since we all know each other so well, it really helps us be closer as a team,” said Anna-Maria Dagher.
The sisters have helped the 13-1 Rams secure the top seed for the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs and they met eighth seed Mt. Blue of Farmington, 6-6-3, in Tuesday night’s quarterfinals.
Bangor is seeking its fourth consecutive EM Class A championship.
“I like it not only because they’re sisters but because they’re good players,” said Johnson.
And they each feature a different component.
“Anna Morris was a striker we turned into a defender not too long ago because we needed one. It worked and we stuck with it,” said Johnson. “Anna is more physical than Grace and has a lot of speed. Grace has as much finesse as I’ve ever seen from a freshman.
“Katerina Dagher has a lot of speed and she is strong. Anna-Maria can shoot and score and she’s a very good passer. That’s why we’ve moved her up to striker,” said Johnson.
“Mary is fast and tenacious and Katie is pretty much the same. She has good skills and instincts. She’s not as fast or as strong as Mary but she’s two years behind her,” said Johnson.
The younger siblings said they have looked forward to playing on the Bangor High School team with their older sisters and have benefited from the experience.
“Katerina is a real good leader. She always helps us and tells us where we need to go. We’re used to being around each other. We played together in middle school so we know how each other plays and where we’re going to make our runs,” said Anna-Maria Dagher.
“I’m more physical but she’s a smart player who sees the field well and distributes the ball well,” said Katerina Dagher.
Grace Morris said her older sister has been “real positive” with her and their different skill sets make them a “good combination.
“She has taught me about being aggressive. She’s more aggressive. She’s good at being aggressive,” said Grace.
“We play alike in some ways,” said Anna Morris. “She’s a really good player. And we read each other’s minds sometimes. We don’t have to talk.”
Katie Butler said her sister has “taught me a lot.”
“When we get home, she’ll give me input on what I did wrong or if I did something [Johnson] didn’t like. Sometimes I don’t get it. She knows [Johnson] better than I do. I’m still getting to know him,” said Katie Butler, who is tall like her sister.
“It’s kind of funny. She is a lot like I was when I was a freshman,” said Mary Butler. “(Johnson) said when I was a freshman, I had her same body and skill set. We are pretty similar.”
“Mary is more physical. She knows how to use her body better,” said Katie.
Mary said she has noticed that her younger sister’s confidence has “definitely increased.”
Katerina Dagher said their conversations about soccer at home have been extremely beneficial because they can be honest with each other and supply positive reinforcement while also pointing out the flaws that need to be addressed.
“It’s nice to get criticism, to get feedback. You can say whatever you want to your sister,” said Katerina. “It can be hard hearing it from a teammate.”