During one of the Owls’ preseason fitness tests, junior defender Kelcie Dolan started to slow down.
Her sister, freshman midfielder Julia Dolan, sacrificed her own finishing time to make sure she passed the test.
“I just remember her yelling, ‘Grab onto my shirt, we’re making this together,’” Kelcie Dolan said. “We make sure to help each other out whenever we can.”
“Everyone was just amazed by it,” coach Seamus O’Connor said.
Through the first 11 games of the season, both Dolans have played in every game. Kelcie Dolan has started nine games, while Julia Dolan has started six.
Julia Dolan didn’t waste any time making her presence known. She scored the overtime game-winning goal in the season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson University on Aug. 18.
O’Connor, the Owls’ fifth-year coach, never had two sisters on the same team before this season. Frequently, siblings want to split up when they decide where to play in college, O’Connor said.
“I never thought I’d have the chance to recruit both of them,” O’Connor said. “For whatever reason I didn’t think they were going to both choose the same school.”
While O’Connor planned to recruit Kelcie Dolan in 2014, his scouting of her younger sister happened more by accident.
O’Connor saw Julia Dolan play while recruiting Kelcie Dolan at Absegami High School in Galloway, New Jersey. During Julia Dolan’s junior and senior seasons in 2015 and 2016, O’Connor witnessed her abilities develop while recruiting one of her teammates, freshman midfielder Emma Wilkins.
“We knew we were going to need another young midfielder going into this season,” O’Connor said. “As soon as I heard from Kelcie that she’d love to have her younger sister on the team, I knew I wanted her because Julia’s level of play just kept grabbing my attention whenever I would see one of her games.”
Julia Dolan hoped to stay relatively close to home, but she didn’t initially think about playing for the Owls with her sister.
“I was actually really thinking about going to St. Joe’s,” Julia Dolan said. “It would’ve made us really big rivals.”
Neither sister doubted if playing together in college was the right decision. But had Julia Dolan decided to play for St. Joseph’s, facing off against each other wouldn’t have been anything new.
They spent their entire childhoods doing it.
“Almost every single night, we’d go outside with our two brothers and play a sport with them,” Kelcie Dolan said. “It could be football, basketball, baseball, soccer. I would always team up with my older brother Mike, and Julia would team up with her twin brother Chris and we would just constantly go at it regardless of what we were playing.”
Both Dolan brothers play college football. Mike Dolan is a senior wide receiver at Division-III Susquehanna University, and Chris Dolan is a freshman wide receiver at Division-II Millersville University.
Though the Dolan family may be full of fierce competitors, even when they play amongst themselves, they can also be each other’s biggest supporters.
“We definitely enjoy being teammates,” Kelcie Dolan said. “It’s a lot easier to stay motivated to work out or practice on your own when you always have someone like your sister to do it with.”
“We also are so familiar with one another’s playing style that it just helps both of us on the field during a game,” Julia Dolan said. “Kelcie is a defender, so she can see more of the field and yell things out to me, and it’s not like the other defenders don’t do that, but it means just a little bit extra to have your sister helping you on the field.”