Sibling Rivalry
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Sibling Rivalry
After 13 years growing up together playing hockey, two sisters took a faceoff against each other for the first time in an official game.

“Faceoff Lauren Williams vs Alex Williams won by UND,” is what the play-by-play read from the Dec. 5, 2009 Western Collegiate Hockey Association game between Bemidji State University and the University of North Dakota.  

“She’s definitely good at taking face offs,” said Lauren Williams before pausing. “I’ll give her that one.”

The sisters, Lauren, a sophomore winger at Bemidji State, and Alex, a senior center at North Dakota, have been playing hockey since they were 7 and 9 years old, respectively. Neither will admit that any type of rivalry exists, but there is definitely a sense of competition between the two.

Shortly after losing that faceoff to her sister, Lauren was called for a body-checking penalty against Alex. However, as Lauren explains, it really had nothing to do with any kind of rivalry.

“If I see Alex out there I definitely don’t hold back,” Lauren commented. “You get so focused on the game that you don’t really notice who you’re playing against.”

“I was a little upset that Lauren would do that, but if it was anyone else I probably would have gotten angry,” Alex added.    

Alex and Lauren grew up in Eagan, Minn. and their father Brian played hockey for the North Dakota men’s hockey team from 1982-86 and ranks 12th on the all-time scoring list at UND. With that kind of hockey experience in the family, the two grew up playing hockey on the pond during the Minnesota winters. Typically they would pair up for two-on-one hockey, playing against their father.

Besides those winter games of shinny, the two never played on the same team until high school. When Alex was a junior at Eagan High School she decided to wait an extra year before joining the Minnesota Thoroughbreds, an elite level girls hockey program for players 19 and under, just so they could be on the same team.

“It was awesome being able to go to the rink with Lauren and being on the ice with her. I know that when we played during the summers together we always had fun and we would dominate at times.”

Lauren agreed and added that she enjoyed playing with her sister mostly because of how much she admired her.

“I definitely liked playing with Alex because she’s such a hard worker. She would go into the corner and battle for the puck while I could stay in front of the net and get the goals.”

After one year of high school hockey Alex went to play for the Thoroughbreds before heading off to UND. Lauren followed in her sister’s footsteps joining the Thoroughbreds after her sophomore season, playing two years for the club before coming to Bemidji State.

While attending different colleges the two still keep in contact and keep up on each other’s progress with hockey. However, this final weekend will be the last time Alex and Lauren will get to play against each other in college. Alex is in her senior year and will have used up all of her eligibility at the end of this season.

Even though Lauren will have two more years left at Bemidji State following the end of this year, Alex doesn’t see herself becoming a Beaver fan in support of her sister.

“I’m Lauren’s biggest fan, but I was born a Sioux fan and always will be,” Alex said. “But I will be cheering for her next year and I hope to make it to most of her games.”

When talking about going into this final weekend against her sister, Lauren didn’t think that she would be too distracted by it, as the Beavers are looking to lock-up their highest WCHA-finish in school history.

“It’s kind of sad that she will be done, but I don’t think it will really faze me for the game,” Lauren commented. “I have never held back against her, and I don’t plan to. We really need four points from them this weekend to hold our spot in fourth or even move up in the league.”

As for the face offs, Lauren isn’t expected to play center over the weekend and won’t be taking any against her sister, allowing Alex to walk away with an undefeated collegiate record in face offs against her sister at 1-0.

The Beavers will host the Sioux on Friday at 7:07 p.m. at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse before heading over to Grand Forks, N.D. on Saturday for the final game of the regular-season series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena at 7:07 p.m.

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