When you look at rosters of different teams in various sports you are sure to come across two people with the same last name on occasion. Sometimes, it happens to be coincidental that the two players have the same last name, and sometimes it is because they are siblings.
In college athletics it is not rare to find sets of siblings on the same teams. Growing up playing with a brother or sister naturally makes them want to continue for as long as they can.
This is what happened with Brianna and Cobina Delaney of the Robert Morris University women’s ice hockey team.
“We’ve been playing together on and off since we started hockey probably around age five,” said Cobina. “But our more recent years, in juniors, for three of the four years before college we were playing together.”
Brianna, a senior, is a year older than Cobina, which means she made the choice to come to RMU first. Cobina, a junior, decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps and come to RMU after ruling out other schools that she had previously visited.
“I wasn’t even looking at Robert Morris, and I had never even heard of it until she came here,” Cobina recalled. “I had my schools narrowed down to a few, but one of the big reasons I came here was to join Brie. I love the school, but being able to play with Brie was a big thing for me.”
Brianna was ultimately happy with Cobina’s decision, although she admits to being a bit nervous initially.
“At first I was iffy on it because I wasn’t sure if we would get along at school, even though we had lived at home together for years,” recalled Brianna. “I was happy when she came in and I’m still happy that she came.”
The two sisters have played on the same line for a majority of their collegiate careers together, and while they play different roles their chemistry is noticeable.
“They both have strong personalities, and I think they both work well with each other. They’ve obviously played together in the past and just being able to read each other and work off of each other helps keep them successful,” said head coach Paul Colontino. “I mean they’ve got good chemistry. I don’t know if there’s more to it to than that. They are slightly different players so the combination of having two different types of players makes it so they compliment each other.”
In the three years they have played together, the two have each contributed, despite their different roles. Brianna has tallied 33 goals and 53 assists while Cobina has had 16 goals and 31 assists.
“Cobi is more of a grinder, and I tend to make more plays,” described Brianna.
Although the two have chemistry together, there is always a third person to every line. Insert junior Kelsey Thomas and you have a dominant line that combines three different styles of play.
“I know Kels has worked very well on that line, and they’ve played together throughout the year,” said Colontino. “She’s got some great finish, and sees the ice well. Cobi works real hard to get pucks and does a lot of the fore-checking, and Brie reads extremely well, and has a great vision for the ice. Between the three of them they’ve got all the basics covered.”
With Brianna being set to finish up her collegiate career this year, the two sisters will no longer be playing together, which will be different for Cobina.
“It’s going to be different because I’ve been so accustomed to playing with her,” said Cobina. “I think she’s a different player and it’s going to be weird playing with someone different. Every player has their own style so it’s going to be different playing with someone who doesn’t have the same style as Brie.”