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KNIGHT USING DOUBLE VISION.

Byline: Gideon Rubin Staff Writer

One is slightly more outgoing and a more offensive-minded soccer player. The other is a bit more serious, and excels on defense.

Other than that, good luck trying to tell apart Carina and Adriana Olmedo, standout sophomore midfielders for upstart Knight High's girls' soccer team and identical twins.

``It seems like I'm always talking to the wrong one,'' Knight assistant coach John Carr said. ``They've made a little joke about it, where I'll be talking to one of them and it's actually the other.

``The sad part is I still haven't gotten it right yet.''

As hard as it is to distinguish one from the other, ignoring their contribution to Knight has been next to impossible.

``They've been fairly integral,'' Knight head coach Jillian King said.

Fielding a varsity team comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores, Knight (5-3, 2-1 in Golden League play) has emerged as one of the region's biggest surprise stories.

After opening league play with victories over Lancaster and Antelope Valley, the Hawks gave another strong performance Thursday in a 3-1 loss to perennial league title contender Highland. The score was tied 1-1 at halftime.

Knight, which has outscored its opponents 18-7, faces another tough challenge today at 5 p.m. at seven-time league champion Quartz Hill.

Carina Olmedo has scored one goal and made 24 steals. Adriana Olmedo has 29 steals. Both are honors students.

``They do a really good job of kind of rallying their teammates and keeping the morale up, even last year (on the junior varsity), when we had some more difficult games,'' King said.

Their presence in the midfield also is thought to cause problems for opponents assigned to mark them.

``It probably frustrates them not knowing who's who,'' sophomore forward Alicia Chacon said. ``I would be confused.''

Coaching the twins presents unique challenges. Despite suggestions from an assistant that they play on the same side of the field, King said she's had to create a comfort zone between the two - a result of their propensity to squabble the way only twin sisters can.

``Instead of arguing with your teammate, you just take it out on your sister,'' Carina Olmedo said with a devilish grin. ``We're sisters. We always yell at each other.''

Said Adriana Olmedo, with a twinge of sarcasm: ``We criticize each other, but in a 'nice' way. ''

The sibling rivalry has brought out the best in both.

``I think we compete against each other, so I guess that makes us better,'' Adriana Olmedo said. ``We always criticize each other, kind of in a bad way sometimes, but we want to be better than each other, so I think that helps both of us.''

The Olmedo twins are part of a nucleus on what figures to be a team to watch. Other key contributors for Knight include Chacon and freshman defenders Sydnee Woods, Nancy Marquez, Lauren Carr and Emani Stewart.

Knight doesn't have to look too far ahead these days. The girls' soccer team has a shot at being the school's first team to qualify for a Southern Section playoff berth.

``That would be really cool,'' Adriana Olmedo said. ``Everybody's saying, 'You're not going to win because you only have freshmen and sophomores on your team,' but we could show them that we have a good team.

``We get along well, and we're going to be together for the next few years, so I think we're just going to get better.''

Gideon Rubin (818)713-3607

gideon.rubin(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Twins Adriana, left, and Carina Olmedo have been integral to Knight's success.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 15, 2005
Words:605
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