Photos: U.S. Youth Soccer Nationals _lowres

Advocate staff photo by John Oubre Nicole Dincau, left, and Haley Laque, who will be playing together at Louisiana Tech in the fall, share a light moment during halftime of their match at the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships on Saturday.

One moment, 18-year-olds Nicole Dincau and Haley Laque are key defenders on the BRSC/ CSC 96 Alliance under-18 girls squad.

The next, they’re simply “Peanut One” and “Peanut Two” — nicknames they’ve been given by their peers, according to Tony Dincau, Nicole’s father.

“They are two peas in a pod,” Tony Dincau said. “Their personalities, their mannerisms, their goals in life … they have a lot of similar likes, and they think the same way. They have the same drive and discipline, and they’re a couple of goofballs.”

The duo met back when both girls played in the under-10 club league, and since then, they have been best friends both on and off the soccer field. Both regularly carpooled to and from tournament games, developing a bond that stood the test of time as they moved up to older age groups.

Soccer became more than just a game for Dincau and Laque — they have never attended the same school, so practices and games became a meeting place to talk about each other’s lives.

Over time, the teammates became so familiar with each other, they didn’t need words to communicate.

“We joke and say that we have telepathy on the field,” Laque said. “We’ll just look at each other and know what we’re going to do. We just get each other a lot of the time.”

What resulted was an adoption of each girl into the other’s family — the girls became like sisters, and for the soccer dads, it was like adding another daughter to the household.

“Nicole is like one of my kids,” said Ryan Laque, Haley’s father. “She’s like part of my family. She comes to my house, and she doesn’t even have to knock on the door.”

Because they were like siblings, their high school soccer games became more than just friendly encounters.

Laque recently graduated from Lafayette High School, while Dincau got her diploma from St. Thomas More. Both girls played four years of varsity soccer for two rival schools.

Bragging rights were constantly on the line.

“You want to talk about them getting at it? Those were some of the best high school games I’ve seen,” Tony Dincau said. “They don’t want to get beat by each other, and they don’t want to look bad in front of their friends. They get after it.”

Now, roughly eight years after first meeting, they are both slated to attend Louisiana Tech, where they signed to play soccer for the Bulldogs.

“We both went up there together to visit, and we both really liked the campus,” Nicole Dincau said. “There was no thought of, ‘We have to play together.’ We just both fell in love. I hear good things about it all the time, and it seems like a good environment to be in.”

The future roommates are considering studying biomedical engineering, and they knew Ruston was where they wanted to be almost instantly.

Ryan Laque said his daughter didn’t wait to let him know where she wanted to spend her college career. She called him on Interstate 49 after the girls left Louisiana Tech’s campus to let him know she had found her new home.

But for now, the girls still have one primary task at hand.

After winning their opening contest against the CFC Lady Chiefs Elite 96 2-1 on Friday morning and tying the JASA Coastal Surge 2-2 on Saturday, the 96 Alliance enters Sunday’s matchup against Oklahoma FC 96 in second place in Pool A of the under-18 girls age group.

With the goal of breaking through the bracket stage in sight, 96 Alliance coach Willie Davis will have his players ready to face the top squad in Pool A.

He’ll be relying on Dincau and Laque to bring both their personality and passion to inspire their teammates.

“I joke with them all the time because they’re almost inseparable,” Davis said. “They’re both great girls, they’re both good players and they have great personalities, and there’s been times where I’d like to see them share those personalities with the rest of the group.”