Prior to every school day, senior Marial Pierce and her younger sister, sophomore Beth Ann, drive from Middleburg, Va., to school at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Frederick.
The 43.1-mile journey, according to Google Maps, can be tiring and filled with traffic, but the sisters say it is well worth it. They are standout three-sport athletes for the Vikings’ girls soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams.
“We used to live like 20 minutes away from St. John’s in Knoxville,” Marial said. “Now, it’s like 45 or 60 and a little more annoying, but we are used to it. It is so worth it though because we’ve been going to [Catholic schools] our whole life. I couldn’t ever imagine going anywhere else.”
Added Beth Ann: “Changing to a school closer to home never entered our minds. St. John’s is home.”
Once classes are complete for the day at the intimate 275-student Catholic school, the Pierce sisters rarely drive straight back home. Usually, they stay after school for a practice or game. In the fall, Marial, a forward, and Beth Ann, a goalie, each start for the varsity soccer team. Marial broke the school’s all-time goal-scoring mark of 53 last fall. During the winter, both are key players for the Vikings basketball team.
But it is the spring lacrosse season they looked forward to most.
From the midfield last year, Marial recorded a remarkable 106 goals and 16 assists while Beth Ann accounted for 42 goals and 12 assists. This season, the Vikings (7-4 as of Tuesday) are in the midst of competing for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland’s B conference championship.
“We’ve always been athletic, but we both just really love lacrosse,” Beth Ann said. “It’s really fast paced, but I don’t know exactly why. It’s just one of those things where you like something better. … It’s good to have off-time with our other sports, but lacrosse is just so cool.”
Coach Lucy Pompa said she is glad to have the duo on “her side.”
“Each of them brings something different to the game. Beth Ann has a great first step and Marial is more of a catch and run player,” Pompa said. “But they are both tremendous lacrosse players that feed off of each other and fantastic teammates.”
Marial, who is signed to play lacrosse at Monmouth University, first picked up a lacrosse stick in sixth grade following a tenure as a club soccer player. After stints on middle school and recreational teams, she joined the Frederick Starz Lacrosse Club (FS Lax) for three years.
“My brother started playing and I wanted to try,” she said. “I just really got into it.”
Beth Ann, meanwhile, was a dancer before following in her older sister’s foot steps. Last summer, she played for the Virginia-based Capital Lacrosse’s 2014 Orange squad.
“We never played together — other than throwing the ball around in the yard — until Beth Ann got to high school last year,” Marial said. “I didn’t realize how big of a contributor she could be [as a freshman with older girls]. But she was a amazing. … I know I can yell at her and there is not going to be any hard feelings because we are sisters.”
“We know what we can do and look for each other,” Beth Ann said. “There is just an extra and natural comfort level there for everything we do.”