The shadow has always been there for Savana Chacon.
From the moment the Crown Point senior started playing volleyball, she’s always been the youngest sister of a talented volleyball family that includes former Bulldogs stars Alaina and Morgan Chacon.
Alaina was a first-team All-American for the Florida State beach volleyball team this year and was invited to compete with the Under-21 USA Beach National team this summer. Morgan was a two-time Times Player of the Year and is also at FSU, where she is a member of both the indoor and beach volleyball programs.
For Savana, living up to the example set by her sisters meant blazing her own path, one that has prepared her for what could be a special season at Crown Point this season.
“I think about (being the youngest) all the time, trust me,” said Savana, who recently verbally committed to Purdue. “Every day.”
Where her older sisters were both outside hitters, Savana shifted her focus in volleyball and excelled at libero and being a defensive specialist. While it’s still the same game, it’s a completely different approach and one that has allowed Savana to become known by her first name instead of her last name.
“Playing a different position from them gave me a chance to be different,” Savana said. “I have a different impact on the game. It’s always been competitive between me and them, but I really love that I play a different position than they did. It gives me a chance to have a different role.”
If there is one person that can understand where Savana is coming from, it’s Crown Point coach Alison Duncan, who has a little experience living in the shadows.
“I’m also the youngest of three girls, so I know a little bit of what’s happening,” Duncan said. “Changing positions was really important for her, to find a unique role. For her to live up to her name, it was important for her to do something different.”
Duncan realized at a young age that her sisters excelled academically and both were at the top of their class. It took shifting focus to volleyball for Duncan to create her own impact and she sees the same with Savana choosing to play a different position, albeit one that she’s excelled in.
“I wanted to be successful in my own way and I know Savana felt that as well,” Duncan said.
Savana continued to showcase differences with her sisters with her commitment to the Boilers. While Alaina and Morgan are both at Florida State, it's not as if Savana will be without some familiar company in West Lafayette when she arrives on campus next fall. Former Valparaiso libero Emma Terwilliger is entering her sophomore season with the Boilermakers and Morgan Township junior Emily Rastovski committed to Purdue last week.
The family competition that helped forge Savana into a talented volleyball player is carrying over to her volleyball family this season as the Bulldogs are loaded at every position on the court. Practices have been competitive and players are fighting for spots in the same way that Savana has fought for her place at the table. What’s different now is that Savana is the voice of experience, the older player that her younger volleyball sisters look to for advice.
“It’s honestly the best feeling when the younger players are asking for advice and I can help them,” Savana said. “We don’t lack in any position, so I’m always asking them what I can improve on as well. Being a senior on this team is a really fun role. I’m teaching (my teammates) what my sisters taught me.”