MENDOTA — Abby Bromenschenkel never really considered the possibility.
Ally Bromenschenkel hadn’t given it much thought either.
As defenders growing up in youth soccer, the Bromenschenkel twins were caught off guard as freshmen when former Mendota soccer coach Nick Myers told the now MHS juniors that he was moving both from defenders to forwards.
“I was really surprised because I had never played forward before,” Ally admitted. “It was such a change.”
A change the Bromenschenkels both willingly accepted.
“I like it a lot, and I love playing forward,” Abby said. “I never thought I’d be a forward because we always played defense, but I really like it.”
Their play this season proved that.
In her third year as a forward, Abby Bromenschenkel was second in the area with 18 goals and had an area-high nine assists, while Ally — who played in the midfield last season before transitioning back to forward this season — scored an area-high 20 goals and was third in the area with six assists.
Both were unanimous All-Big Northern Conference West Division selections and helped Mendota to a 7-7-3 record this spring.
Impressive considering their sudden and unexpected change two years ago.
For all they did this season, Abby and Ally Bromenschenkel are the 2014 NewsTribune Girls Soccer Players of the Year.
“It was definitely a change because on defense you’re just trying to stop the ball where as on offense you’re trying to score,” Ally said.
It’s the first time a Mendota player has claimed the honor in the award’s four-year history, and the first time since 2008 the NewsTribune has awarded co-Players of the Year to a non-doubles tennis team.
“From what I can see and can tell, their relationship is one of friendly competitiveness,” second-year MHS coach Chawn Huffaker said. “During practices, things are good and during a game they are looking for each other and trying to help each other. But when Ally has three goals and Abby only has two, you see that real drive in Abby because she really wants it.
“It’s a playful competitiveness but, at the end of the day, I think both girls just want the team to win whether they score or not.”
Luckily for the Lady Trojans, both Bromenschenkels did a lot of scoring this spring as their 38 combined goals accounted for 49.4 percent of Mendota’s offense.
“I think we work well together because we’ve grown up together and know what the other is going to do when we get the ball,” Abby said. “We can sense what the other is going to do and it helps a lot. If you look at my stats, most of my assists come from Ally and most of her assists seem to come from me.”
The Bromenschenkels played a vital role in Mendota’s improvement this season and oftentimes were two of the Lady Trojans’ three forwards.
However, Huffaker did move around the Bromenschenkels as Abby also played in the midfield.
“She is not a vocal leader and is more of a lead-by-example leader,” Huffaker said. “Abby was my multi-position player. If I needed her in the midfield, she’d go to the midfield. If we needed her up front, she’d go up front. I even joked with her, ‘Hey, I need you to play defense,’ and I know she would do it if need be. She is one of those players who you are fortunate to have because they can and will do anything for the team.”
In addition to being the area’s leading scorer, Ally was also the team’s backup goalkeeper, a position she played during a game this season against Byron.
“Her sophomore year, I moved Ally to the center-mid position so that I could use her height, size and ball-handling ability, while Abby played up front in a two-forward attack,” Huffaker said. “It worked, but over the summer I thought, ‘I’m just not getting my maximum potential out of (Ally),’ so I moved her up front, and
I’m pretty sure that we got maximum potential from her this season.”
Allowing both Bromenschenkels to become forwards again allowed each to excel this spring and become the first set of twins to win or share an NT Player of the Year award.
“I love being a twin, and I think it’s so fun,” Abby said. “I always have someone to practice with and we always have someone around.”
It’s helped both take their games to the next level.
“We have a really good relationship,” Ally said. “We’re always together and play the same sports. We just work really well together and know where the other one is going to be. We can sense it and pass it to each other, and it helps — a lot.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.