UNC sophomore Ryleigh Heck is no stranger to competition with her older sister, Kara.
Ryleigh said Kara, now a senior on the Boston College field hockey team, was always the "queen." To back up her point, Ryleigh recounted a specific instance from their elementary school days when Kara hit a reverse chip into the air, smacking the ball straight into the corner of Ryleigh's eye and splitting the skin open.
Tears were shed, Kara shouted a defensive “I didn’t do anything wrong," and the usual sisterly-bickering followed.
Ryleigh said moments like this energized her competitiveness as a kid — something she still taps into every time North Carolina and Boston College meet and both Heck sisters face off.
“It’s tension on the field,” Ryleigh said. “We love each other, but we just want [Boston College] to do the worst, in the nicest way possible.”
On Friday, in the latest installment of the Heck v. Heck saga, the No. 1 Tar Heels routed the No. 11 Eagles in a 3-1 victory. As one of the team’s key offensive pieces, Ryleigh led the Tar Heels with 5 shots — 3 more than her older sister — thanks to her aggressive positioning.
Their father, Roy Heck, said Ryleigh and Kara have always been very different. Ryleigh is more skilled offensively, but Kara can play at any position. Growing up in New Jersey, Ryleigh hung out with a large group of friends, while Kara stuck to a tight-knit group of three or four.
Field hockey was what they did together. Well, until college.
Now, as conference foes, they meet every year on the turf as competitors.