QUINCY -- Everything Quincy Notre Dame girls soccer coach Mark Longo asks Maddie and Ellie Peters to do -- share space, share the ball, share responsibility -- appears to come naturally.
"We share a bedroom," said Maddie, a junior and three-year varsity player. "We've shared a bedroom our whole lives. We've done everything together pretty much."
In this case, the midfielders have been the link between a dynamic offense and a stonewall defense that makes the Raiders capable of winning a third straight state championship, albeit in a higher classification.
QND (22-2) takes a 10-game winning streak into the postseason, which begins Wednesday with a Class 2A regional semifinal matchup against Metamora. The Raiders previous state titles were won in Class 1A, but the success factor implemented by the Illinois High School Association bumped them up a class.
No one is bemoaning that. The Raiders accept the challenge.
"We're pretty good fighting for everything -- fighting for spots, fighting for playing time, fighting for possession," said Ellie, a sophomore who missed last season's championship run after suffering an early-season knee injury. "We're competitive."
The fact a majority of the roster is made up of multi-sport athletes contributes to that, but it also creates a common bond.
Most of the Raiders have played together on traveling teams in one sport or another, building the camaraderie it takes to be a contender.
"It's a close bond," Maddie said. "We are all friends off the field, too."
But only two share space off the field.
"Playing with my sister in the middle means a lot," said Ellie, who missed the opportunity to last spring to play alongside their older sister, Hannah. "It's fun to work together. We've been playing our whole lives together on different teams. We connect really well in the middle and try to distribute the ball as quick as we can to our teammates."
Both are efficient and effective at that.
"We're both good in different ways," Maddie said. "She's more defensive. I'm more offensive. We can switch roles depending on who is playing better, but we both have different strengths that contribute to the team success."
Often, that goes overlooked, except by Longo.
If the defense is the backbone of success and the ever-present offensive attack is the heartbeat, then the Peters' presence in the middle is the undeniable soul.
"They've been really good at controlling the game, controlling the pace of play and allowing our forwards to get up and attack," Longo said. "They are a big reason we continue to win game after game."
Their approach, as well as the deft delivery, makes them effective.
"A lot of it has to do with being selfless and getting other people involved," Ellie said. "Maybe you don't take a shot just because you want to score. You see if other people have a better opportunity."
Whether it works or not, neither sister
"Just staying confident is key," Maddie said. "If you make a mistake, just try to get the next one. And encourage each other."
That's easy. That's something they've always done.
"We don't really care if we get the attention or not," Maddie said. "We just want the team to have success."