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Sisters Madi and Taylor Watt power up from opposite ends of field for Lincoln-Way Central. ‘We’re more together.’

Sisters Madi and Taylor Watt are used to competing with each other on the soccer field, but things are a little bit different this season for Lincoln-Way Central.

Taylor, a sophomore, has moved to defender. That means she’s no longer fighting older sister Madi, a junior forward, to see who can score more goals.

“It’s definitely a rivalry, especially when we’re both forwards,” Madi said. “We both want to score, we’re both eager, we both have that intention to score and we want to be the one to do it.

“Now that she’s playing center back, it feels like we’re more connected. We’re not competing against each other. We’re more together.”

The Watt sisters both played big roles Thursday night for the host Knights.

Madi, an Eastern Illinois recruit, scored two goals and Taylor led the defense as Lincoln-Way Central topped Marist 5-1 in a Windy City Ram Classic second-round game in New Lenox.

Abby Sudkamp, Lila Hadley and Sydney Zale each added a goal for the Knights (2-0), who advanced to take on Andrew (2-0) in the quarterfinals of the 32-team tournament.

Giselle Coronado scored for Marist (1-1).

Last season, Taylor Watt was a reserve forward as a freshman, but Lincoln-Way Central coach Sean Fahey decided there was an opportunity for her to play a bigger role at a new spot.

“We knew there were vacancies on the back line this year,” Fahey said. “We lost three girls there from last year. Taylor, from the jump, was willing to put herself back there. She’s super athletic and strong, and she reads the game well.”

Taylor has embraced the switch.

“I used to play forward, but I started changing during club season and I love it,” Taylor said. “I like winning head balls, and I like playing in the back with Abby Sudkamp.”

While Taylor is helping to prevent goals, Madi Watt is creating them for the Knights. She scored twice in the first half Thursday and already has three goals and three assists this spring.

“I feel like not pressing is helping me,” Madi said. “It’s just connecting with each other as a team. It’s not always one person doing all the work. It goes from the back line, through the midfield and then up top, just all the way through the field.”

While Madi did her thing up top, scoring less than two minutes into the game and adding another goal in the 15th minute, Taylor enjoyed her view from the back.

“It’s great,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of exciting when she nutmegs people. Or like, I don’t even know what she does up there some of the time, but when she scores, I always run up there really fast and high-five or hug her.”

Madi Watt is excited to see Taylor growing as a player and taking on a bigger role.

“As a freshman, everyone is just nervous and excited,” Madi said. “Then you gradually develop, you develop your position. You grow as a player and a person off the field.

“It’s just incredible to watch.”

Fahey said Madi has to be prepared to be a bit of a lone wolf at times when the Knights go with a one-forward formation.

“We had different personnel last year and a different recipe for a lot of the season,” Fahey said. “Now, she’s going to be that fixture up top, and she knows her role is going to be to battle.

“She’s going to be outnumbered. She’s going to be double-teamed a lot. I think she’s ready for it.”

Madi also is ready for her and Taylor to dominate on different ends of the field.

“She’s defending for us and I’m up top trying to help us score goals,” Madi said. “It’s awesome.”