All throughout collegiate sports, it is not uncommon to find two players on the same team with the same last name.
This year, the Robert Morris University men’s lacrosse team finds themselves with a pair of brothers, Tyler and Eric Rankel, who have proven to be major assets for the team.
Through seven games, the Rankel brothers, who are from Downingtown, PA, have a combined 15 goals, and eight assists for 23 points.
Tyler Rankel, a junior long stick midfielder was first drawn to Robert Morris due to the fact that it is a smaller school.
“I liked the campus, I talked to the coaches a lot, and I didn’t feel like a big campus would be suitable for me, and I liked the smaller classes,” said Tyler. “I really like how close our team is as a family and always looking out for each other and just being supportive of one another.”
Just two short years later, Eric Rankel, a freshman midfielder decided to join forces again with his older brother, this time at the collegiate level.
“I like being close to the city, and I like how Coach said that the team is only going to improve. It just made sense,” explained the younger Rankel. “It’s going to be a lot easier on our parents to just come up to one game instead of traveling all over the place for two games.”
The duo played together during their high school careers, so this reunion of sorts is something they are happy about.
“It just brings me back to high school with us playing together, and it feels like nothing was missed in the two years we didn’t play together,” Eric said. “It’s been a lot of fun just having him next to me on the field.”
Their family and friends are also big fans of the brothers playing on the same team again.
“My parents and grandparents love it. It’s just easier on them to travel to one game,” said Tyler. “It’s pretty cool because when we were down in Jacksonville, we had a buddy that traveled two hours just to watch us play, but it’s been fun. There’s been a lot of the support at home.”
Through just seven games, Eric Rankel was tied for second in goals and points with 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points. He also had 19 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.
“He’s been helping the team a lot. We needed a couple of strong midfielders after losing some from last year’s team,” explained Tyler. “He’s been a leader out there, he’s been taking control, and he’s been having fun just like the other midfielders.”
“I didn’t think I’d be doing as well as I am so far, but my teammates are giving me a lot of props so far,” Eric admitted. “They’re telling me to keep shooting. It’s a lot easier to hear it from them and just keep playing my game.”
Eric Rankel also had nothing but praise when talking about his older brother.
“He’s stepped up a lot this year with the face-offs especially with others out with injuries,” said the younger brother. “Overall, he’s just playing a lot of strong defense and causing a lot of turnovers which we need on the defensive side.”
Overall, the Rankel’s enjoy being on the same team, and they are looking forward to being on the same team for the rest of this season as well as next year.
“We always look out for each other, and it’s not bad,” Tyler added. “I don’t see him every day, but it’s fun, it’s a good time.”