CLIFTON PARK — At the moment, there’s a single drawer at their house where sisters Kara Gray and Lauren Gray keep all of their Syracuse University clothing stored.
The way it’s going, that stuffed drawer might soon spill into a second.
“Almost every time we go to visit the school,” Kara Gray said, “I feel like we come back with new Syracuse apparel.”
“We cannot go out there and not buy something,” Lauren Gray added. “It’s bad.”
But it’s for a good reason. The Shenendehowa sisters separated by a school year are both committed to play for the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team. Lauren Gray, a senior this past school year, committed this past fall and will enroll at Syracuse this August, while Kara Gray committed earlier this month as her junior year of high school neared its conclusion.
“We’re stuck to each other,” Lauren Gray joked.
The Grays continue a recent wave of area athletes who have gone on to play for Syracuse women’s lacrosse, a national power. While former Niskayuna star Kayla Treanor graduated from Syracuse in 2016, head coach Gary Gait’s program included three players — Niskayuna’s Asa Goldstock, Guilderland’s Cara Quimby and Queensbury’s Mary Rahal — with ties to Section II-area schools this past season.
Up until a year ago, Kara Gray and Lauren Gray — who helped lead Shenendehowa to an appearance this past spring in the Section II Class A girls’ lacrosse championship game — both thought their post-high school careers were more likely to continue at the Division III level than at a Division I school. But they both attended a camp last summer in Saratoga Springs headlined by Treanor and Gait, and impressed the coach enough that he shortly thereafter started recruiting the pair.
“After that,” Lauren Gray, 18, said, “Syracuse was really my only option.”
The sisters had played in front of Gait before last summer, as the pair had attended Syracuse lacrosse camps as youngsters.
“We obviously weren’t that experienced back then as lacrosse players,” Kara Gray said, “but we always loved the school and coaches.”
While Lauren Gray said it was “crazy” to go from camper to recruit, her high school coach said the sisters’ consistent improvement throughout their careers made such a leap possible.
“They were always so great to teach,” said Shenendehowa head coach Jen Sykes, who started working with the Gray sisters when they were in elementary school.
Lauren Gray paired 35 goals with 17 assists during her senior season and was named an All-American. Meanwhile, Kara Gray had 27 goals and 15 assists as a junior.
“Kara really came alive toward the end of the season and had some big games down the stretch for us,” Sykes said.
Kara Gray said she’s interested in studying English when she gets to college, while Lauren Gray — who has both academic and athletic scholarships from Syracuse — is still deciding between several majors.
Their shared affection for the school has only grown during the past several months, as they took frequent trips to tour the campus and watch their future team’s games.
Both sisters said they had not always thought they’d end up committed to the same college, but that playing for Syracuse’s team was independently a goal for each of them. That things have worked out the way they have makes the realization of that goal even sweeter.
“It’s always been a dream of ours,” Kara Gray said, “so it’s so cool that it’s actually happening.”
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at 395-3109, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.