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A Family Affair: The Lakers Sibling Rivalry

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Maria and Gina Narcisi
Maria and Gina Narcisi

While some families get to see their Laker student-athlete excel in different sports, other families have more than one student-athlete donning the Green and White. In fact, there are five sets of siblings currently competing for Laker teams, either on the same squad or in different sports.

Senior swingman Damian Zalewski of the men’s basketball team gave his family a preview of what life was like to be a Roosevelt student-athlete. When it came time for Damian’s younger sister, Emily, to choose a university and pursue a collegiate tennis career, her decision was much more informed thanks to her older brother’s first-hand experience on campus.

Damian and Emily Zalewski

“I encouraged my sister to make her own decision on where she wanted to receive her education, but I told my family and Emily that Roosevelt is a great college and I have enjoyed my time here,” Damian recalled. “I think it made her lean toward Roosevelt a little bit more.”

Senior Andrea Munoz actually started out at Calumet College of St. Joseph and played on the Crimson Wave women’s soccer team. When it came time for her younger sister, Monica, to make a college choice, Andrea also made the decision to join her sister at Roosevelt and reunite a soccer tandem that has played together since Monica was four.

“It was more like we made the decision together to attend school and play soccer here,” Monica, now a sophomore, said of their choice to play at Roosevelt. “She would transfer in as a junior and I would be an incoming freshman. It was like we were starting a new chapter together.”

Andrea and Monica Munoz

Matt Marrera first became knowledgeable about Roosevelt as a sophomore in high school, when his older brother, Mike, was taking his official campus visit to Roosevelt during his senior year at Hinsdale South. Matt said he “instantly fell in love with the campus.” After Mike joined the Roosevelt baseball team and became one of the Lakers’ top pitchers, it was an easy decision for Matt to continue his baseball career at Roosevelt.

“Aside from the campus, and being able to live in such a beautiful city, the biggest and most special reason I came here to study and play ball was to step on the same baseball field at a collegiate level with my older brother Mike,” said Matt Marrera, now a sophomore infielder on coach Steve Marchi’s baseball team. “My older brother is not only a great pitcher, but he’s also my mentor, my inspiration and my best friend.”

The Narcisi sisters, both now juniors, have excelled for Roosevelt in different athletic settings. Gina Narcisi is consistently one of head coach Aaron King’s top two cross country runners and a distance standout during track season, while her twin sister, Maria, has overcome injury to emerge as starting goalkeeper for women’s soccer coach Roland Hahn. Maria even became the program’s first-ever CCAC Player of the Week, thanks to her stonewall play between the posts.

“My sister wasn’t originally attending Roosevelt, but she made a last-minute switch and I’m glad she did because we’ve only gotten closer,” Gina Narcisi said. “Teammates become family, but it’s always nice to have someone around who actually is.”

Gina’s cross country and track teammates, Jessica and Jackie Fuller, not only have each other to lean on, but their father, Jeff, who is Roosevelt’s carpenter foreman.

Jessica and Jackie Fuller

Many of the sibling duos say that competing for the same school, whether on the same team or not, has brought them closer together. “Ever since my sister and I were little, we would always talk about how we dreamed of going to college together to play soccer on the same team,” Monica Munoz said. “Now I’m playing college ball with my big sister. It’s nice to know it worked out the way it did.”

“I was always used to being on the field, course, or track with my twin, and I miss calling her a teammate,” Gina Narcisi said. “Since we play different sports, now we’ve learned to be each other’s biggest fans.”

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