WHITING | Kim Anderson wore a diamond-patterned top with shades of green and shades of navy blue, sitting almost directly at midcourt and acting as neutrally as could be as her daughters faced off as members of separate varsity volleyball teams for the first time.
Ever since freshman Brittany Anderson made the Bishop Noll varsity to start the school year, Monday night’s match between the Times No. 10 Warriors and senior Kaylyn Anderson’s No. 7 Whiting squad had been circled on a calendar.
“We’ve seriously had it marked forever, and (Sunday night) we couldn’t sleep,” Brittany said. “In school all day I was shaking.”
Kaylyn said Brittany screamed “Are you ready for tonight?!?!” early Monday morning.
“It’s something we’ve been looking toward and anticipating for a while,” Kaylyn said.
As Whiting's Kaylyn prepares for homecoming this weekend, she admits she was more fixated on Monday’s match than any bonfire or pep assemblies.
Now homecoming will probably give way to a revenge fixation and hope that a sectional matchup is in the offing after Brittany’s Warriors got 10 solo blocks from scene-stealer Asya Hobbs in a 25-14, 25-20, 25-17 sweep of the host Oilers in Greater South Shore Conference action.
“We stood together and talked before the game, about how it was going to be fun and we’d cheer for each other,” Brittany Anderson said. “We obviously cared who won, but not between siblings.”
Both girls live in East Chicago with their mom, and Kaylyn went to St. Paul in Munster before choosing to attend Whiting, noting its Science Olympiad program as a draw. Last year Brittany, while attending Whiting Middle School, decided to go to Noll for its business department, wanting to take after Kim, an accountant.
Although the occurrence is rare in Northwest Indiana and was a first in volleyball for the Andersons, the combination of club volleyball and competing private schools leads to frequent matchups with conflicts of interest, especially nearby in south suburban Illinois.
“After it happens a few times you get used to it,” Kaylyn said. “I don’t care if it’s your best friend, cousin or sister over there, eventually they just become the team you’re playing against.”
Kaylyn had a better night individually with nine kills on 19-of-25 hitting and a 2-for-2 performance blocking (Brittany had 15 assists and three blocks), but Noll (8-3, 3-1) overpowered the Oilers (11-3, 1-2) elsewhere.
The sisters only rotated into each other a few times during the night, but Kaylyn had a solid block on her sister and said to herself, “I’m going to laugh about that one at home later.”
They exchanged smiles often and hugged succinctly at the match’s end. Then they drove home with their mom.
The Warriors only used one timeout on the night, when they were down 8-6 in the first set and seven of Whiting’s points were from unforced Noll errors. The Warriors won that set convincingly.
The final two games were comeback victories by Noll. The elder Anderson had a kill to put her team up 16-9 in the second, but the Warriors outscored the Oilers 16-4 to close the game, including 7-2 at the end.
Whiting led the third game 14-12 before Noll ran off 10 consecutive points.
Hobbs ended the night with an ace to punctuate a night with 13 kills and 10 solo blocks. Carly Cappello led Noll’s attack with 17 kills, and Carissa Jones, who served eight straight points in the second-set comeback, had four aces.
“They never quit and climbed back into it,” Noll coach Dave Rodriguez said. “It’s something we’ve been telling them for two years. Whether we win or lose, we focus on the next play, and we will always believe that we can run off strings of points.”