Sports

Twins anchor soccer defense

Brothers Nolan and Sawyer Hemmer line up together on the soccer pitch.

For 17 years, soccer has helped bind the inseparable kinship of junior defensemen and twin brothers Nolan and Sawyer Hemmer.

“We have been playing together since we were 4 years old,” Sawyer Hemmer said. “We have always been on the same team. Our older brother played soccer and we wanted to be like him in every aspect.”

Roughly 14 years after first stepping onto a soccer field together, they faced the difficult decision of where to play soccer beyond their high school days. They drew offers from several Southern schools and almost committed to Xavier before the Musketeers abruptly fired their coach.

Regardless of which program they chose to play for, one thing was for certain: They were going together.

“Temple presented itself as the best option for both of us together,” Nolan Hemmer said. “We wanted to try something different and go to college somewhere other than where we are from.”

Born and raised in the small city of Demorest, Ga., the pair said attending school in North Philadelphia seemed unthinkable at first.

“Temple didn’t become an interest until later in the process,” Sawyer Hemmer said. “[Temple] seemed like a new thing to try. The guys on the team and the group of friends we have made were able to make the transition simple. Being far away from home, they kind of act like our family and I know they would do anything for us.”

While playing for Habersham Central High School, the accolades for both Nolan and Sawyer Hemmer began to pile up. They both earned Georgia All-Region First Team honors as seniors. Sawyer Hemmer was tabbed Most Valuable Defenseman by his high school teammates. Nolan Hemmer, who also played as a midfielder in high school but is now strictly a defenseman, recorded 27 goals and 18 assists as a senior.

Three years removed from their high school playing days, the twins now find themselves anchoring the Owls’ defense.

“I play in between them and I’m confident in both of them to cover me if I get beat,” senior defenseman Billy Kappock said.

With Kappock in the midst of his final season at Temple, the twins will be relied upon even more next season. Kappock, a workhorse who plays just about every minute of every game, will leave a substantial hole in the Owls’ defensive rotation come 2013.

“They are a big part of our defense this year and I assume they’re going to be taking a little bigger of a role next year,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I expect that they continue being big pieces, both this year and next.”

“They will play bigger roles without me but it really just comes down to your senior year,” Kappock said. “It’s one last year to get a conference title.”

Whether it be on the field or off the field, the chemistry built from 17 years of soccer is evident.

“Our chemistry on the field is pretty sweet. Without even looking, we kind of know where the other will be or where to play them the ball,” Nolan Hemmer said. “We are super close off the field. We pretty much do everything together and it has been like that ever since we were little.”

“Communication is huge in soccer and we don’t really need it because we know what each one is going to do without having to look or talk to one another,” Sawyer Hemmer said. “I wouldn’t change how close we are [off the field] for anything.”

MacWilliams said the on-field chemistry between the twin defensemen gives Temple an unusual advantage. Off the field, he said he sees the glaring similarities between the two.

“It helps our program,” MacWilliams said. “They do things very similar. They always support one another and are always around each other.”

Where the road takes each brother following their Temple days remains to be seen. Maintaining their friendship, on the other hand, is a no-brainer, the twins said.

“We will continue to be close and hopefully both of us have a successful future,” Sawyer Hemmer said.

“It’s going to be weird going our separate ways but it has to be done at some time,” he added.

Tyler Sablich can be reached at tyler.sablich@temple.edu or on Twitter @TySablich.

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