Ashley and Taylor Sampone were born sixty seconds apart.
Taylor is the older one, a little louder, and she’s left handed. Ashley is a little more reserved, but wore the #1 on her Pittsford lacrosse jersey.
The Sampone sisters call each other their biggest support systems and their toughest critics; perfect complements of one another, always in sync. That is, minus the day the girls started playing lacrosse as children, when one of their friend’s parents recommended they try it.
“Ashley really wanted to do it, but I was super against it, but I said fine I’ll go to one practice, I’ll tell you I hate it, but I fell in love,” said Taylor.
It only went up from there. The girls played for Monster Elite, one of the best travel lacrosse clubs in New York, all while pushing the other to be better.
“We both want each other to be so successful, but we’re so competitive,” said Ashley.
Pittsford’s head girls lacrosse coach, Donovan Lopez sees the competitive side of the girls beyond practice. “If they were making PB&J sandwiches, they would race just so there was a winner.”
Despite the sibling rivalry, there is nothing Ashley and Taylor love more than sharing the field.
“I love playing with my twin sister,” said Taylor. “I didn’t realize how important that was until I did it at Pittsford. Hugging, our game day handshake, those are the memories I’ll carry with me the rest of my life.”
During their time with the Panthers, the Sampone sisters discovered they were superstitions, and followed several pregame rituals.
“We’d always wear red shorts before our games, and always do our hair a certain way, just little quirky things,” said Ashley. Taylor on the other hand, always eats the same breakfast, toast with peanut butter and sliced banana on top, always puts her right sock and cleat on before her left (since she’s left handed), and she always does Ashley’s hair before her own.
Ashley and Taylor swear they have twin telepathy, even though they don’t share the same dominant hand, but are more amused by their ability to make their opponents see double on the field.
“We live for the moments in games when we’re in games doubling someone on defense, the next thing you know the ball goes to the other side of the field,” explained Ashley. “They look at us like, ‘you’re everywhere on the field, are you a twin?'”
Their ability as midfielders was no secret to college coaches on the recruiting trail, but they hoped their ability to confuse an attack would get them noticed together. The girls knew they wanted to play in college together, but were very aware coaches could split them up. When the University of Louisville called with two spots available, they knew it was the place for them.
“We just knew we wanted to be a part of that culture,” said Taylor.
Ashley and Taylor will be living together at Louisville, while sharing a suite with two other girls. All they want to do is bring the Pittsford lacrosse way with them in their next chapter.
“For us, the wins, the losses, the sectional championships are all important, but the Pittsford way is not about wins and losses,” said Taylor. “It’s about the memories, the culture you create and the legacy you leave behind.”
They agreed on exactly what they wanted to leave behind: love.
“I think what we’re leaving behind above all is love. Love for our teammates, love for the game, love for the ball, love for our coaches.”