Shawnee seniors Logan Anderson and Alayna Burns share a lot in common.
The two have played on the same team for nearly a decade. Anderson and Burns first played together on the same youth team in third grade and also play for the same club team, Uprise Field Hockey.
Both players serve as captains for the Renegades, were named by Max Field Hockey as two of the top 100 players in the nation in the Class of 2020, and have both committed to play for ACC schools in college, with Burns committed to Duke University and Anderson to the University of Maryland.
Anderson and Burns both share similarly impressive field hockey resumes. But when it comes to their personalities, they are nothing alike.
“We’re opposites,” Anderson said. “But on the field hockey field, we definitely work together really well.”
“If you ask anyone about our personalities, they’d probably say we’re very different as people,” Burns added.
They may be different off the field, but on the field, Anderson and Burns are the cornerstones of Shawnee’s lineup. Burns is the catalyst of the Renegades’ offense, leading the team with 11 goals in the month of September, while Anderson solidifies the team’s defense with speed and outstanding field vision.
Anderson and Burns both share strong leadership qualities as two of the Renegades’ four captains this year. Like their personalities, the way each of them approach being a leader is very different, but head coach Renee Toliver said that’s a good thing.
“Logan brings work ethic,” Toliver said. “She’s a leader by example. She goes hard and she pushes her teammates and holds them accountable to go hard. Alayna is more of the strategy, talking about strategies, what we need to do and fixing things. She’s more vocal, which is nice. They complement (each other).”
Anderson and Burns are proof that players with very different personalities can share a strong relationship on and off the field. Burns enjoys talking about how the two would drive to club practice together and listen to music. She believes the pair’s love of field hockey is what has allowed them to build such a strong friendship.
“I feel like both our love for the game and our high level of competitiveness have allowed us to just bond together,” Burns said. “We respect each other as players so much.”
“Since I’ve been playing with her so long, I definitely know I can read her as a teammate,” Anderson said. “I know what she’s going to do. I can understand where she wants me to go and it’s definitely huge for us to lead this team together.”
As strong as they are as a pair, Anderson and Burns also stand out individually. Toliver described Anderson as the “backbone” of the Shawnee defense. Anderson has been named a first team all-conference defender each of the last two seasons.
“She obviously has excellent game vision, sees the field, she’s great at anticipating,” Toliver said. “She’s super fast, I think it’s deceptively fast. And she has excellent stick work.”
Anderson has been a bigger contributor offensively this season than in years past. Anderson tallied two goals against Moorestown last Tuesday to boost her total for the season to six. Entering this year, Anderson had only scored three career goals.
“Last year, we graduated a lot of our seniors and they were all attacking,” Anderson said. “We definitely have a lot of young players this year starting on our attack line. Someone needed to step up and I was happy to do that.”
Burns has also become more of an offensive player in her final high school season. After playing as a side midfielder last year, Burns moved into a new attacking role this year. In the Renegades’ first eight games of the year, Burns racked up 11 goals.
“This year I started playing more of an attacker, forward, center mid,” Burns said. “That’s allowed me to be more involved in our attack and try to pressure and set up goals, whether it’s me scoring or me giving someone an assist.”
Toliver was confident in moving Burns up front this year because of her intelligence and ability to break down what’s happening on the field.
“She likes to analyze things,” Toliver said. “So I think for her, it’s an easier switch because I know she’s going to go home, she’s going to think about it and she’s going to analyze things.”
Anderson and Burns were both a force in Shawnee’s biggest win of the season last Tuesday, a 6-1 victory over Moorestown. It was the first time the Renegades had beaten the Quakers since 2011 and was Shawnee’s fifth win in six games after a 3-2-1 start to the season.
“We’re definitely really excited,” Burns said of the Moorestown win. “I’m proud of all of the girls to see the strides we keep making as a team.”