Watching a Virginia women's soccer game, Katie Tracy is one of the first players to stand out. She's yelling encouragement to her teammates from her spot at center midfield, out-fighting her opponents for headers and loose balls and generally doing all the things a reigning team MVP should do.
Lori Lindsey is often harder to spot. Without the diving headers and kamikaze tackles of Tracy, Lindsey's game is built on precision. If Tracy is the spark plug of the Cav engine, Lindsey is the ball bearings.
And as the No. 25 Cavs head south for a pair of games at No. 9 Duke and unranked N.C. State, they will rely as always on their two star center mids.
The pair most definitely is up to the task. Tracy scored the game-winner when Virginia (2-2) knocked off then-No. 3 Portland. Lindsey, an All-ACC second-teamer last year, helped win a gold medal for the U.S. at the Pan American Games this summer.
While they are two of the Conference's best midfielders, their styles have little in common.
"K.T. is really strong with her upper body," Cav coach April Heinrichs said. "She fights for every ball and is a real thinker. Lori Lindsey has a strong lower body. She's extremely clean and technical, with a really sweet touch. K.T. is more of a stay-at-home type and Lori is more of a slashing midfielder."
Off the field, the pair isn't quite so different.
"Coming in, our personalities just got along well so that really helped working the kinks out," Lindsey said. "We kind of know where each other are, because we've been playing together for over a year now."
The pair combined for 16 goals last year and joined forward Angela Hucles in Portland, Ore., at the Adidas Summer League. Lindsey, however, left for the Pan American Games before the league wrapped up.
"She left early to go claim gold and I went camping and hung out with my sister," Tracy said with a grin.
Still, that summer competition prepared both for the amount of responsibility the Virginia system places on them.
"We really ask them to do an awful lot of work on the attacking side of the game," Heinrichs said. "Then we ask them to do an awful lot of work on the defensive side."
The Cavaliers obviously appreciate the job their center mids did last season. Tracy - then in only her second year - received Cav MVP honors.
"The team voted on that, so I don't know if they thought I was the best or if I was just the nicest," Tracy joked. "But I did something right, I guess."
"She's living proof that you can have competitive fire in your belly and still be the sweetest, nicest person on the planet," Heinrichs said. "Katie Tracy beats her teammates on a regular basis and she's still extremely well liked on our team."