Lewis & Lewis continue to make twin killing at Alabama State
Even at birth, Ariela and Aaliyah Lewis of Anchorage were a package deal. The twin sisters were born six minutes apart and they have been close ever since.
They can communicate without saying a word, an unspoken language that comes in handy on the soccer field for Alabama State University.
“We have always worked off each other,” Ariela told me. “I can find her no matter what. It’s a weird twin thing.”
The freshmen are the No. 1 scoring sister act in NCAA D1 women’s soccer, combining for 33 goals and 16 assists for 82 points in 21 games. Almost every Lewis goal came off a Lewis assist.
Do they have a special sister dance to celebrate each goal?
“No,” Ariela said with a laugh. “We just hug each other and say I love you.”
Alabama State soccer fans love the twins for making the Southwestern Athletic Conference program relevant. In just their sixth season, the Hornets had never won more than seven games in a season before piling up 14 victories this year.
They also reached the SWAC tournament championship game for the first time.
“We’re pretty much making history and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group of girls,” Aaliyah said. “To come from where the program first started, it’s a really big deal and it means a lot to our alumni and the players that came before us.”
Aaliyah was named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 18 goals and 43 points. At Dimond High, she was a two-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year.
“To go to higher level and win another award, I’m ecstatic about it. I’m just really happy. To me it just shows that my hard work pays off,” she said. “Being recognized and getting where we are, it’s a big deal for our school and our team. It’s definitely something to be proud of.”
Ariela was named SWAC Freshman of the Year after leading the league with nine assists and finishing second with 15 goals and 39 points.
She is a playmaker, similar to a creative point guard in basketball, who uses precise passing as a midfielder to serve up assists like a waiter.
“I know I have scoring opportunities, but I feel like whenever I get the ball my sister is in a better position that if I can get her the ball it’s a guaranteed goal,” Ariela said. “We’ll have this little communication on the field. She will give me a hand gesture and I will nod, so when I get the ball I know exactly where she’s going to be.”