Friday, November 09, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-11-09 20:45:33)
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

For a family that has been heavily involved in the sport of soccer, this weekend will be a special experience.

Siblings Kelsey and Jordan Lloyd will be participants in the opening round of the NCAA Division III soccer tournaments, which began on Friday night.

Jordan's, a freshman at Transylvania University, played against Wheaton (Ill.) in Chicago on Friday night, while Kelsey, a senior on the seventh-ranked Centre College team, hosts Agnes Scott on Saturday afternoon.

For Kelsey, the start of this year's NCAA Tournament in her final year, is the culmination of the development of the Centre program into the best team in school history, after a 19-1 regular season and being named conference champions.

"I came in my freshman year to a program that had just lost a large, talented senior class and we have continued to improve each season," Kelsey said.

The improvement comes from Kelsey's class having the vision to lead the team, having bonded since her freshman year in 2009.

"There are eight of us who have been with the program since our freshman year and even since we were underclassmen, we showed extraordinary chemistry, dedication and work ethic and that has spread down to the rest of the team," Lloyd said.

It's also the culmination of a soccer career that looked to be in limbo after Lloyd tore her ACL during a soccer match in October of her senior season at Cocke County High School.

"If you would have told me four years ago at this time right after I tore my ACL, if I would have ended up playing for the seventh-ranked team in the country, I could not have even envisioned what that would have looked like," Lloyd said.

For Jordan, it's been an interesting jump into the college soccer realm. The Pioneers are 16-1-2 and won their conference title this year. Transylvania only hopes to continue

"Our goal for this postseason is to make Transylvania's soccer program among the elite," Jordan said.

"With an Elite 8 and two Sweet 16 appearances in recent years, the program is ready to make the
next step.

"We have a very good team this year capable of making a deep run into the tournament," Jordan said.

A Family Affair

While both Jordan and Kelsey are wrapping up this season on the pitch, their family's involvement in collegiate athletics is been a constant presence over the past few years. Their older brother, Logan, swam collegiately at Transylvania.

The experience has created a unique bond for all three.

"It has been fun for the three of us to get the opportunity to continue doing something that we love and it is a connection that I share with my brothers," Kelsey said. "It's been fun to travel around and watch Logan swim and Jordan play soccer, but I think our parents have really enjoyed us playing soccer.

"Since Jordan has graduated high school, our parents have come to Kentucky to watch us play nearly every weekend," Kelsey said. "Dad loves it! He looks up stats and who we are playing next and usually knows our national ranking before I do."

Seeing his older brother and sister compete at the collegiate level was something that inspired Jordan to continue his career for Transylvania this fall.

"Logan and Kesley have continuously told me of their great experiences while playing in college and
their experiences motivated me to play a collegiate sport at this level," Jordan said. "Even at the Division III level, there is a very competitive environment around sports filled with great athletes."

Sibling Rivalry

While most siblings carry rivalries through their lives, there perhaps is a different rivalry shared with the Lloyd siblings. Transylvania and Centre are two of Kentucky's, and the south's, most prestigious schools, with fierce athletic contests and academic sparring continually connecting the two schools, which set nearly 40 miles apart.

"We call it the greatest rivalry you have never heard of," Kelsey said. "It really just makes the sibling rivalry that much more fun. Basically anytime Centre does something good or gets a higher ranking - which is basically every time - I brag about it to my brothers.

"I'll cheer for Jordan, but I hope Transy loses," Kelsey said.  "One of my favorite soccer memories is beating Transy 5-0 last year, because I got to rub it in my brother's face."

The rivalry is just as strong at Transylvania, even for a newcomer to the ongoing feud between the two rival schools.

"When referring to the other school, we all just call it "the other school," Jordan said. "Most of the teams schedule a game with the other school, even though they are not in the same conferences, but there hasn't been a men's soccer game for several years, because they can't play a game without the teams and fans becoming hostile and out of control."

He agreed it also transcends the sibling rivalry.

"The sibling rivalry just makes the rivalry even more personal as we try to beat each other's school," Jordan said.

Copyright © 2014, The Newport Plain Talk