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LAYTON'S `SISTER ACT' KEEPS LANCERS ON STAGE

Tricia Ferrin led the Layton girls soccer team to the 4A state title last season.

The same could be said of Tara Ferrin. But then again, the most important person in the the Lancers' championship drive may have been Kathy Ferrin.In any case, it's safe to say that the Ferrin family made winning soccer games a family affair a season ago, and that tradition continues this year. Layton, led once again by the triumvirate of Ferrins, is out to defend its state title. The Lancers are ranked second in class 4A with a 6-1 record in Region 1, considered by many as the strongest soccer league in the state.

Last year Tricia Ferrin, just a sophomore, was voted the as the Deseret News' Most Valuable Player in the state for her fine play as a midfielder. Her twin sister, Tara, also a midfielder, was voted in as a first-team all-stater. The mastermind behind all the Lancer success was Kathy Ferrin, who's called `coach' by most of the Layton players, but `mom' by the two stars.

"Last year was like a dream come true when everything came together and we won the championship," said the coach, who is also a math teacher at Layton. "It's a privilege to coach them, but its also amazing just to be their mom."

The twins are like a mirror image of each other. Tricia, who's older by six minutes, is lefthanded, while the "younger" Ferrin, Tara, is righthanded. Both are outstanding all-around athletes and were three sport lettermen as sophomores last year, excelling in basketball and softball in addition to soccer.

Both, however, say soccer is their first love, although Tricia maintains basketball runs a close second. "I like soccer best because I like to use my feet, it's more open and I like running - as long as there's a purpose. I hate to run on a track," Tara said.

Coaching her talented daughters is nothing new to Kathy. Tricia and Tara began playing soccer when they were 6-years old in a co-ed league. Kathy was an assistant coach who knew next to nothing about the sport. Even then the girls could play as well as, and better than, the boys they were playing against.

Later, when the twins began to play in an all-girls league, Kathy noticed that all the teams were coached by men. "I figured I could coach the game as well as anyone else, so I went to every coaching clinic I could find to learn more about soccer," Kathy said.

While many teenagers would feel uncomfortable with a parent as their coach, the Ferrin twins actually enjoy it. "I like it because you get to go home and analyze the game with her," Tricia said. "If I have a bad game she's there to say that it'll be better next time. She doesn't put a lot of pressure on us."

Seventeen years ago, Kathy Ferrin was expecting a child. "I gave birth to the first one and the nurse said `You're never going to believe this, but there's another one there,' " Kathy said. "I couldn't believe it. We had no idea before that, but it's been a wonderful 16 years."

The twins are almost identical in looks and in soccer ability and they even seem to be able to finish each other's thoughts and sentences. They've had teammates suggest that they should switch jerseys and play a game as the other one to see if anyone noticed. "When we have our hair the same way people have a hard time telling us apart," Tricia said, with Tara adding, "our mom would probably be able to tell the difference, but I doubt anyone else would."

But looking alike poses problems occasionally. In a basketball game last year Tricia dribbled the ball and then picked it up and handed it to Tara, who proceeded to dribble. The ref called a double dribble thinking it had been the same person both times. A similar incident happened recently in a soccer game against Bonneville when one of the sisters made a short pass to the other on an indirect penalty kick. The ref thought the one person had touched it twice in a row, which is illegal on a penalty kick, and gave the ball back to the Lakers.

Both sisters play in the midfield, which is a key position that requires the most amount of running. "It's fun being a midfielder because you get variety," Tara said. "You get to play both offense and defense." While midfielders aren't a soccer team's primary scorers, Tricia has four goals this season, while Tara has added three.

"True midfielders are hard to come by and we have three of the best," Ferrin said, including Layton senior Angila Bennett with her daughters.

While a second straight state championship would be nice, the Ferrins won't feel the season was a waste if they don't win the title again. "If we play our best and don't repeat, that's fine," Kathy said. "Only one team becomes the state champion, but that doesn't mean only one team is successful. We're just going to take it one game at a time and see what happens."

With Tricia and Tara Ferrin in the midfield and Kathy Ferrin on the sideline - as well as a host of other experienced players - count on plenty of good things happening to Layton's girls' soccer team this year.