Twins’ sibling rivalry means double trouble for Navy foes


Forget sibling rivalries.

When the Collins twins, Jenna and Julia, played one-on-one basketball in the driveway of their Clarksville, Md., home what usually resulted were full-blown sibling hostilities.

Hair pulling, shoving, name calling and all manner of accusations went with the territory as they fought to one-up each other.

“We were very competitive and most of our fights probably were a result of our competitiveness, especially in the driveway,” said Jenna.

About the only time the twins were unified was when they competed against their older sisters, Nina and Sue. “We always ganged up on them,” said Jenna.

These days the competitive juices are still very much part of the deal. The difference is that Jenna and Julia are sophomore teammates on the women’s lacrosse team at the Naval Academy.

Instead of pulling each other’s hair Julia said Jenna did most of the acting up — they are there for each other through the highs and lows that come with being student-athletes at the academy.

“I love it,” said Julia, who plays on the attack, when asked about having Jenna as a teammate. “Especially when you are having a bad day or you are on the field knowing you have not been performing well it is nice to look at your sister and know that she is there. Just being like a reassuring person on the field that always has my back.”

The feeling is mutual.

“If one of us is feeling down we know the mental support is always there for each other,” said Jenna, a midfielder.

It sounds like they have come a long way since their passion overflowed in the driveway. They still have a love for hoops, however. In addition to excelling at lacrosse Jenna and Julia each earned four letters and won a pair of regional championships during their time at River Hill High School in Clarksville, which is about 30 miles northwest of Annapolis.

Lacrosse, however, was their sport and while they could have gone different directions as far as college Jenna felt that she and Julia would continue to be together and compete together.

“Our parents were always telling us that we did not have to go to the same place and to be your own person,” she said. “But in the back of my mind I knew that we would end up together. We explored options of not going to the same place, but that really was not what we wanted.”

They wound up remaining together and a moment they will never forget was last season’s opener against visiting Longwood. While Jenna and Julia played together during the abbreviated fall season, nothing could compare to the experience of being on the field together for their first official collegiate game.

“It was amazing,” said Jenna, who scored a pair of goals in a 17-2 win. “We felt real blessed that the coaches gave us the opportunity to start our very first college game together.”

Julia, an attacker, collected three goals and added an assist in the rout.

“To be with my sister during my first game of college lacrosse was definitely an amazing experience,” said Julia. “It was one of those things you never forget.”

It was the start of a season in which Jenna was named First Team All-Patriot League, the first Navy freshman to be so honored in eight years. She tallied 25 goals and collected 30 ground balls in starting all 20 games. In eight games this season Jenna already has 19 goals, which is tied for third in the league.

Julia, who also started all 20 games last season for the Mids, was fourth on the team with 27 goals. So far this season she has found the back of the net nine times and leads the squad in draw controls.

All those numbers are nice, but they pale to the desire to take it one step further in the Patriot League after losing in the championship game to Loyola last year. A league title would mean an automatic invite to the NCAA Tournament.

“Obviously we want to win the Patriot League tournament, but we really want to get into the NCAA tournament and make a run,” said Jenna.

However things work out for the Mids later this spring Jenna and Julia Collins are sure to be there for each other.

Above: Jenna Collins, right, leads Navy with 24 points this season. Twin sister Julia, left, is tied for fifth with 12, (Courtesy Navy Athletics)


Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger is a freelance writer based in Glen Mills, Pa.