May 26, 2011

Winslow Twins Finish Mercyhurst Lacrosse Careers Together

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Andy says that Tim (above) has more of a mean streak, which helps the 6-foot-5 twin on the defensive end. Andy, at 6 feet and 40 pounds lighter than his brother, excels in the midfield for Merychurst. Both will be on the field Sunday when the Lakers take on Adelphi in the NCAA Division II national championship game.

© Mercyhurst Athletics

One morning the parents of Tim and Andy Winslow, fraternal twins growing up just outside Rochester, N.Y., woke up to a surprise. Instead of their youngest boys sleeping soundly in separate spots, they entered a room with the pair grinning widely from Andy's crib after Tim had climbed out of his crib and into his brother's to hang out with his main man.

"I couldn't tell you the reason why," Tim said. "I guess I just did."

"Tim would climb over the changing table and hop into my crib, and we've been close ever since," said Andy.

Regardless of Tim's toddler travels, it's a safe bet that the Winslow twins would have been close. Most twins are. If you saw the Winslows now, however, the post-natal story would make you scratch your head.

Tim stands 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, while Andy checks in at an even 6 feet, 160 pounds. They are twins seemingly because of a shared birth date, and little else.

"It's sort of like that movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito," said Mercyhurst coach Chris Ryan. "If I put them next to each other, you'd never guess they are brothers. But you have to believe they are because they are never separated; they do everything together."

One of the shared associations for the Winslows is playing for the Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team that will meet Adelphi in the NCAA Division II national championship game Sunday afternoon. Tim patrols the crease as one of the top four close defenders for the Lakers. Andy resides on Mercyhurst's first midfield unit.

Tim has been a solid player for the Lakers since he arrived, giving them length in the middle of a stout defense. His status for his senior year did not look good, however, when he called his coach over the summer.

"Timmy called me in July and told me he blew out his ACL," Ryan said. "On that phone call, he promised me that he would be ready to go for the first game. I remember telling him, 'Timmy, that's basically five or six months off an injury.' He said 'Don't worry, I'm playing.' I had my doubts, but there he was. I remember our trainer came to me in December and said, 'You're not going to believe this, but he's two months ahead of where he should be.'"

When Tim returned, Ryan said he was better than before. The cautious approach he used with his healing knee kept him from taking the unnecessary risks that burned him in the past. Getting a different vantage point on the game also helped.

"When I was out, I was basically seeing the field from the perspective of a coach and could see how everything worked out," Tim said. "It really helped me understand the game even more. My stick skills improved, because I could only use my stick in the fall. I think it was a blessing in disguise."

"He's got a little more of a mean streak than I do, so defense was right up his alley," Andy said. "Running is kind of what I do, so middie just came naturally to me."

Andy had been a second-line middie for most of his career, giving Mercyhurst a steady, if perhaps underwhelming, contribution to the offensive unit. Before this season, however, Ryan thought Andy could be the key for the Lakers' success considering their graduation losses.

"I had said to my assistant coaches in a meeting at the beginning of the year that if we got 15 to 20 points out of Andy, we'll have a pretty good year," Ryan said. "I think he's at 30 points now. He just sort of exploded."

Most of the success this year has been Andy's ability to shed his laid-back persona on the field and get aggressive with the ball. Sometimes he'll revert back to his passive ways, but he usually finds his considerably larger twin brother waiting for him on the sidelines.

"I'll get in his face and say, 'Stop dancing around and run by them,'" Tim said. "I think that's where he has improved a lot this year. He'll take the ball up top and dodge hard around guys. I'll definitely get frustrated if he'll dance back and forth and lose the ball, because I know his full potential."

The brothers have always lived up to their potential in the classroom. Following in the footsteps of their older brother, Ted, who was a captain of the Lakers in 2006 and graduated with nearly a 4.0 GPA, the twins are right behind him.

"Timmy is the black sheep of the family with a 3.7," Ryan said with a chuckle. "I once asked him, 'Do they even talk to you at the dinner table?' It's a very intelligent family and I think their relationship rotates around that level of intelligence -- the game preparation, the work ethic, the attention to detail. I think that is the baseline for them."

At the conclusion of the national championship game, the brothers will head to the University of Buffalo. Andy, will attend the UB dental school, like his father did. Tim will pursue his master's degree at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, which is affiliated with the university.

Naturally, the two will share an apartment.

"He's been my best friend my whole life, so it's pretty nice to have somebody like that around," Tim said.

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