Sibling athletes work their way to the top together

Patricia Wei, Web Director

Siblings who grow up together often share fond memories with each other, and these memories are found in sports for many Lynbrook students. For these siblings, sharing the field or court has brought them closer together and helped them grow as athletes. They are not just teammates for a season, but teammates for life.

As soon as senior Amy Steinmetz makes a kill on the volleyball court, she hears a distinctive loud cheer. From the corner of her eye, she sees someone excitedly jumping up and down, cheering from the top of her lungs: sophomore Angela Steinmetz, her sister and teammate on Lynbrook’s varsity volleyball team. Through mutual respect and admiration, the two sisters have been continously giving each other moral support and encouragement.

“My sister is super dedicated, intelligent and fun to be around,” said Amy. “She always wants to go the gym and do the extra work to improve, which motivates me.”

The Steinmetz sisters have both been playing volleyball for five years, and the sport has become a family tradition for them.Whenever one of the sisters has a tournament, the entire family oftentimes travels along to support and spend quality time together.

The sisters have never played on the same team, though, until Angela made Lynbrook’s varsity team her freshmen year: the same year Amy committed to UC Irvine on an athletic scholarship. The scholarship was a testament to Amy’s hard work over the years, but also a testament to the many people who have supported her and helped her grow, including her sister Angela.

Knowing that her sister, along with other underclassmen, look up to her, Amy strives to be an inspiring captain and teammate. As captain, Amy gives the varsity team a pep talk before the start of every game. Yet before doing so, she goes to Angela and tells her, “I believe in you. You’ll do well. You’re a great athlete, so don’t be nervous.” Small moments like this remind Angela of how grateful she is to have a sister that serves as both a role model and friend.

“It feels good to know that one of our team’s star players is also my sister, the person that helps me out no matter what,” said Angela.

A perquisite behind the close bond that the Steinmetz sisters share is their honesty. After a game, Amy and Angela give each other compliments, as well as constructive criticism, and think of different techniques to try out for the upcoming game. Because of their close relationship they are not afraid of offending each other by discussing mistakes and shortcomings. They do not experience much rivalry because they have different positions: as the taller player, Amy likes to hit, while as the shorter player, Angela likes to pass. With their tight bond and versatility on the volleyball court, the two constantly build each other up.

“Angela has shaped me into a better team player,” said Amy. “I used to be more cocky, but my sister makes sure I know my spot on the team and reminds me that there’s always room to improve.”

For Angela, Amy has always been not only a teammate but also a friend. Her favorite moment with her on the court has been when she makes a pass to Amy that Amy is able to make a solid kill with.

“I think that creates a bond between us,” said Angela. “I am really proud to know that Amy is my sister and that she is such a strong player on the team.”


Both literally and figuratively, Tim Zou has always looked up to his older brother, senior Joe Zou. Joe is just shy of six feet tall, and Tim stands a little shorter at (will ask for his height). Growing up, they were each other’s constant companions, practicing soccer together at the elementary school near their house. Now, they are each other’s biggest supporters, never failing to make each other laugh.

Joe, a soccer and football player, encouraged his little brother Tim, to join the football team, but Tim decided that football was unfit for him due to his size. Joe advised Tim to play another sport in addition to soccer to stay active and earn P.E. credits, so Tim joined the track team. Although they have never played on the same soccer team or the same sport during the soccer offseason, they have been nevertheless pushing each other to improve.

“Tim has really helped me stay competitive,” said Joe. “There was a time when Tim started getting really fast at long distance running, and that pushed me to train harder.”

They rarely have the opportunity to watch each other play since their games coincide or are played on different fields. However, they update each other on what happened after their respective games. Joe usually teaches Tim offensive techniques that he uses and encourages him to apply them to his game. To Tim, Joe is the guiding figure who has introduced him to every sport that he plays, gives him advice on sports and school and inspired him to work hard.

“My brother works really hard, which I really admire,” said Tim. “He’s really smart and athletic, and that is also what I want to be.”

In addition to soccer, football and track, the two brothers play frisbee recreationally. They picked it up at a summer camp a few years ago, and now use it to bond with each other and relieve stress.

Like many brothers, Joe and Tim enjoy sharing YouTube videos and talking about video games such as League of Legends. Almost every day, they will watch video togethers while doing homework, sharing another experience that allows them to bond and appreciate each other’s company. As brothers, they enjoy light teasing, but ultimately inspire each other.

“I think my brother has worked harder than me,” said Joe. “It’s tough for him on sports teams because he’s usually the smallest one. I’m very proud that he is able to power through all the adversity.”

Since her freshmen year, senior Lauryn Ito has attended every football game at Lynbrook. Whenever she hears “Number 45: Hayden Ito” announced on the field, Lauryn never misses her chance to cheer for her twin brother. The two have been playing sports and supporting each other for as long as they can remember.

“Because we are twins, we have been together for our whole lives,” said senior Hayden Ito. “When we were younger we did baseball, T-ball, soccer and swimming.”

At Lynbrook, Hayden and Lauren play football and field hockey respectively in the fall and wrestle in the winter. During the football season, Lauryn often sees Hayden come home with scrapes after football practice and admires the positive attitude he has toward his injuries.

“He never complains,” said Lauryn. “He is always happy after football practice and says, ‘That was fun.’ Even when he is really hurt, he insists that he can play.”

In the fall, Hayden tries to attend as many of Lauryn’s field hockey games as he can and is motivated by her desire to be a contributing member to the team.

“Lauryn is really passionate about what she does,” said Hayden. “She is always trying to make the team better, and fights to make her ideas heard.”

For the Ito family, sports have always played a big role in their lives. Hayden and Lauryn’s parents come to every football and field hockey game, and their grandparents even come to watch their games occasionally. They have also taken inspiration from their older brothers, Devyn and Bryce, who are also athletes. Hayden and Lauryn wanted to wrestle after watching Devyn. In sixth grade, he signed himself up for Miller Middle School’s wrestling team and told Lauryn to join as well.

“He dragged me into wrestling, but I am glad he did,” said Lauryn. “I would not be in the sport if it were not for him.”

As Lauryn faces the football field and sees the bright lights of the Lynbrook stadium that have become so familiar for her, she knows that Hayden is on the field giving his 110 percent and is reminded of the opportunities sports have given her to grow and bond with her family.

“Sports are a big part of our family,” said Lauryn. “We may not be the best athletes, but they are still very important to us.”