Identical twins and of Palos Verdes signed in December to continue their academic and lacrosse careers at NCAA Division II Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.

The 5-foot-7 attackers have earned starting roles all four years at Palos Verdes, and both were named second-team All-Bay League as juniors. The Sea Kings went 13-5 last season and earned the No. 2 seed in the LA Championship Tournament.

Fort Lewis, which plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, went 7-7 last season and lost in the RMAC semifinals.

Abigail Merchant and Brooklyn Merchant, Palos Verdes

The Merchant twins co-wrote answers to a couple of questions from MaxLax regarding their college commitment.

What made Fort Lewis the right choice for you?

“Fort Lewis College was the right choice for both of us because of the size of the school and the location. We knew that we wanted to be at a smaller school somewhere near the mountains. The town of Durango is really cute, and we immediately fell in love with the beautiful campus and how it overlooks the mountains (plus the proximity to Purgatory and Telluride.) When we met Coach Sean [Claussen] and some girls from the team, they were extremely welcoming, and we knew it was a great fit.”

What other schools did you consider?

“Since we chose not to take the club route, we didn’t have any of the exposure to college recruiters at the big recruiting tournaments. We started researching schools in Colorado during our junior year and attended a summer lax camp at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. At the camp there were coaches from UCCS and other Colorado schools who expressed interest in having us play for them and invited us to tour their campuses and meet their teams. After camp, we took a road trip to all of those schools and a few other D-IIs that play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. We returned to a few ‘invitation only’ recruit weekends before we made our final decision to commit to Fort Lewis.”

How important was it to go to school and play together?

“Being twins, we’ve been together our entire lives and at the same schools, and we’ve always played the same sports together. We’ve always just assumed that we would end up going to the same college. We motivate each other and push each other to be better. Plus, it helps that we’re also best friends and have a lot fun together. We’re both very grateful to have this amazing opportunity to continue our education together and play lacrosse on the same team!”

What (or who) played the most significant role in you achieving this goal?

“Our parents encouraged us to attend the camp at UCCS, which ultimately started our lax recruiting process. During that camp our dad contacted the coach at Fort Lewis (who wasn’t at the camp). He set up a personalized campus tour with the coach and some current players. That face-to-face interaction with the coach led to us being invited back for the recruit weekend in the fall.”

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