A new dimension has been added to the bond that exists between sisters Olivia and Alyssa Stilley.
Volleyball teammates for the first and only time at the high school level, Greenwood’s starting middle blockers are doing their best to make the most of every side out this season.
Olivia, a senior and Woodmen co-captain along with junior outside hitter Camryn LaMonaca, leads Greenwood in kills (141) and service aces (33) entering tonight’s Mid-State Conference match at Franklin Community.
Alyssa, a freshman who is 6-feet tall just like her sister, has a team-high 21 blocks and is third on the team in kills (49).
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According to the elder Stilley, the possibility of having Alyssa as one of her varsity teammates didn’t completely sink in until this past summer.
“I saw how well she did during club season and how much she had improved in just that one year. Once we started conditioning and doing all of our stuff over the summer I saw there was a chance it could actually happen,” Olivia said. “This has definitely brought us a lot closer.”
Yet there are differences.
Olivia Stilley inherited her father, Greg’s, more low-key persona; Alyssa is much more talkative, like their mother, Tracey.
“Alyssa is definitely a lot more vocal than me. A lot more. I’m a quiet person and . . . I hear her all the time (during matches),” Olivia said with a laugh.
“But I think we kind of feed off each other. I think the hardest thing for me is trying to treat her like a teammate on the court and not my little sister. I’m always positive with her, but there are a lot of thing I want to help her with and have to realize she’s a teammate.”
The dynamic works to the benefit of the Woodmen, who take an 11-9 record into the match with the Grizzly Cubs.
“Olivia definitely leads by example. I’ve talked with her about the expectations I had, and this summer she was at everything we did setting the tone for the team,” said first-year Woodmen coach Amanda Ratliff.
“Alyssa is very friendly. A people person who gets along with everybody. She’s confident, but always wants to keep learning.”
This all-too-brief window of time having the Stilley sisters utilizing their height and reach along Greenwood’s front line will be over before Olivia and Alyssa want it to be.
The Woodmen can start play at the Class 4A Center Grove Sectional as early as Oct. 20. They’ll know the schedule when pairings are drawn Oct. 12.
Olivia’s hope is to be playing volleyball collegiately a year from now while majoring in nursing.
Alyssa will be moved into more of a leadership role as a Greenwood sophomore. She said she will be ready due to growing both as a player and person through the experience of watching her sister, and she’s ready for the challenge.
“A part of the team is going to be missing next year because she’s my sister and I came to this court with her there. But it will nice seeing how I can support the team more. That’s what I’m trying to work on this year, being a good teammate and being a leader,” Alyssa said.
“When I see (Olivia) making team meetings or talking to other teammates, I definitely see a role model. This has been by far the best season of volleyball I’ve ever played.”
Position: Middle hitter
Season-high: 18 vs. Mooresville (Sept. 1)
Position: Middle hitter
Season-high: 9 (on two occasions)