touches
Courtesy of Penn Athletics and Cornell Athletics

The Manning brothers. The Williams sisters. The Touche brothers?

There is no better storyline in sports than two siblings competing against one another. During Penn men's soccer’s game against Cornell this weekend, Penn freshman Alex Touche will face off against his twin brother Charles. An already intense matchup between two Ivy League rivals just got even better.

Some siblings are very competitive when it comes to sports, while others enjoy playing together. For Alex and Charles, it was always the latter.

“We have always been on the same team,” Touche said. “After playing high school and club together, it's super weird not being teammates, let alone going up against each other.”

Though they never faced off against one another in a formal competition, playing on the same teams for years led to lots of training ground battles. Touche is ready for the competition with his brother yet again, knowing this time the stakes are a lot higher.

While it may seem interesting to some that twins who spent their whole childhood playing together decided to attend different schools, playing together was never a priority for Alex and Charles. Instead, they wanted to each pick the school that was right for themselves.

“When I visited Penn I fell in love with the campus, and I knew from that point on I wanted to attend Wharton,” Touche explained. “Charles had the same reaction when he visited Cornell, and so we went our separate ways.”

Though the brothers are happy with their decisions, it did lead to an awkward moment with Penn coach Rudy Fuller. Right after telling Fuller he was going to commit to Penn, the coach asked Touche if his brother Charles was planning on doing the same. Alex had to tell Fuller that not only was Charles not going to play for Penn, but he was going to play for Ivy League rival Cornell.

While watching the two brothers compete will be fun for everyone involved, Penn's main focus is to come out of this game with a win. It's been a rough start to the year, but there is still more than enough time for the team to turn its season around. Despite a 1-6 record, Ivy League play is yet to start, so Penn’s shot at the title is as good as any other team’s.

“Our mindset is that we are heading into a whole new season right now,” captain Sam Wancowicz said. “If we can win Ivies, we make the NCAA tournament, and our start does not matter.

The biggest problem for Penn thus far has been scoring — the team has a meager four goals in seven matches. Joe Swenson has scored twice already this season, while Jake Kohlbrenner and Wancowicz have scored one each. The team will definitely be looking for more people to contribute in the final third, as all the goals have been scored by midfielders so far.

On the other hand, there have been some bright spots during Penn’s first seven games.

"The freshmen, specifically Wes Maki and Jake Kohlbrenner, have been very impressive when coach has let them get a run," Wancowicz said.

This weekend’s game will tell us if Penn’s disappointing start to the season is an indicator of things to come, or if this has simply been a team that needed to gel together before they could reach their peak.

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