Volleyball is all in the family

Volleyball+is+all+in+the+family

The meaning “family” when referring to an athletic team has never been so literal until this year’s Baker University volleyball squad.

With three sets of sisters, a cousin, two nieces and a mother-daughter relationship, the Wildcats have their fair share of family connections, starting with head coach Kathy Allen. <br/>Coach Allen's daughter, Kelsey, is a freshman on the team. Sisters Jayde, senior, and Brooke Allen, freshman, are the nieces to coach Allen and cousins with Kelsey. Also playing for the 'Cats are sisters Brooke, sophomore, and Alexis Pryor, senior, and the pair Nikki, junior, and Kayla Anderson, freshman.Coach Allen's daughter, Kelsey, is a freshman on the team. Sisters Jayde, senior, and Brooke Allen, freshman, are the nieces to coach Allen and cousins with Kelsey. Also playing for the 'Cats are sisters Brooke, sophomore, and Alexis Pryor, senior, and the pair Nikki, junior, and Kayla Anderson, freshman.
Coach Allen’s daughter, Kelsey, is a freshman on the team. Sisters Jayde, senior, and Brooke Allen, freshman, are the nieces to coach Allen and cousins with Kelsey. Also playing for the ‘Cats are sisters Brooke, sophomore, and Alexis Pryor, senior, and the pair Nikki, junior, and Kayla Anderson, freshman.

“All of the family members who are on the team are all very close to each other,” coach Allen said. “From a sister standpoint, or with me and Kelsey, it adds to the team dynamics.”

Alexis Pryor said the family connections are not as evident on the volleyball court.

“You don’t really notice it when you’re playing,” she said. “We’re all aware that there are siblings, but I think all the siblings do a good job of separating family from volleyball. When we’re on the court, we’re teammates.”

Coach Allen said although there are many sets of families on this year’s team, she does not purposely recruit family members.

“I recruit good players to come into the program, and if they also happen to be related to somebody, that’s just another bonus,” she said.

For Kayla Anderson, her sister played a part in her recruiting process. She said she enjoys playing on the same team as Nikki and benefits from having her around.

“(Nikki) did actually impact my decision,” she said. “I thought it’d be easier on my parents because I was planning on playing volleyball. I figured why not go to the same school as Nikki and have lots of fun, and if I got homesick, I’d always have her.”

For the Pryor sisters, some may ponder a sibling rivalry as both Alexis and Brooke are the starting outside hitters for the 'Cats. Alexis leads the team in kills with Brooke <br/>following right behind. This season marks the fourth year the sisters have played together at the varsity level, both in college and high school. Alexis said she feels the team does not let sibling rivalries get in the way, and the team uses it more as a support system. She said she enjoys having the opportunity to play with her sister.following right behind. This season marks the fourth year the sisters have played together at the varsity level, both in college and high school. Alexis said she feels the team does not let sibling rivalries get in the way, and the team uses it more as a support system. She said she enjoys having the opportunity to play with her sister.
following right behind. This season marks the fourth year the sisters have played together at the varsity level, both in college and high school. Alexis said she feels the team does not let sibling rivalries get in the way, and the team uses it more as a support system. She said she enjoys having the opportunity to play with her sister.

“It’s awesome,” Alexis said. “We played together in high school, and I was really excited that (Brooke) came to Baker, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s something great that we can share together.”

Coach Allen said her relationship with the players who are related to her is different than with those who are not. She said there are times that the coach and player discipline is not what it would be if the player did not have relation. However, coach Allen said regardless of whatever kind of relationship, she does not let it affect the lineup.

“It’s a no-brainer, I put the best out there,” coach Allen said. “It doesn’t matter if they are related to me or not. I use the assistant coaches and captains, and we determine who is going to be out there.”

Despite all of the crazy family connections, Alexis Pryor said there have been no problems so far, besides an occasional confusion.

"Sometimes it does (become confusing)," she said. "A lot of us look the same and sometimes the team names get confusing with two Kelsey's and two Brooke's, but for the most part it's been fun, and it's funny when it happens." <br/>  
 

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