“They are kind of the glue that holds the whole thing together,” Reed coach Jason Saville said. “I mean it’s hard, I don’t care any program in northern Nevada, to come in as a freshman and not only to make the varsity team, but to start, and to contribute.”
But Aubrie Ciesynksi and Kennady Whitehead’s relationship is not defined by their similarities. It is defined by their differences.
Playing soccer in the club ranks growing up, Ciesynski and Whitehead played on rival club teams. Ciesynski played for the Sagebrush Lady Nomads and Whitehead played for Elite.
Both still play for their club teams.
“It’s just kind of funny,” Ciesynski said. “When you step on the field you are going to go hard and when you step off, it’s all good.”
Coming into the Reed program as freshman, Whitehead had a similar interpretation of suddenly becoming teammates with a Lady Nomad.
“It was definitely a funny felling,” she said.
After getting used the idea of playing with a rival, the two developed a rapport that translated into nightmares for opposing defenses.
“We have definitely built a relationship,” Whitehead said. “Coming in from two different club teams, hating each other, we have definitely built a relationship.”
Ciesynski was named a High Desert League First-Team defender as a freshman, a First-Team midfielder as a sophomore and a Second-Team forward as a junior. Whitehead has been named a First-Team midfielder each of her first three years.
Saville said last week it would be a “travesty” if Whitehead is not named Midfielder of the Year.
Accolades aside, both feature a contrasting playing style. Whitehead is the aggressor of the two while Ciesynski is the defensive, possession-
“She (Whitehead) is really good at taking people on,” Ciesynski said.
Whitehead provided the lone score in Saturday’s 1-0 over McQueen. In the 66th minute,she possessed a loose ball from 25 yards out and sent a laser over the McQueen goalies’ head. That’s what she does.
The two have one blaring likeness, however, they hope to change this year. Ciesynski and Whitehead have lost in the first round of the playoffs three years in a row.
Ciesynski sat out of last year’s 3-0 playoff loss at Carson with a broken collarbone.
“It’s almost kind of like revenge a little bit,” Ciesynski said. “I want to do exceptionally well, not just for myself, but for my team.”
Whitehead echoed the urgency to win in the playoffs this year and said this year’s squad, “is probably the most skillful” Raiders group she’s been on.
Playoff wins or not, both are taking their talents to the collegiate ranks next fall.
Ciesynski is moving across town and will play under the Mackay Stadium lights as a member of the Wolf Pack. Whitehead will become a Warrior at Cal State-Stanislaus, a NCAA Div. II affiliate. The Warriors are No. 7 in the country and undefeated this season.
“They have been the model of consistency. Their level of play has been consistent all the way through,” Saville said. “It’s just been a pleasure to coach (them) the last four years.”