For some of the Mark Morris volleyball team, watching Andee and Madalyn Whitman play is fun. The celebrations, the blocking dynamic, the chemistry.
For the sisters, it’s a special part of being and having a sibling. Andee, a sophomore, follows in the footsteps of senior Madalyn, and it’s been a ride for the two and the team.
“Sometimes I want to make her walk home after games or practices,” Madalyn said. “But she’s my sister and I love her, and I have to love her and the way she plays, love it or hate it. I just love having her on the court. I think it’d be so different if I didn’t have her playing next to me.”
While the sibling fire can be fun to watch from the outside, there’s a deeper connection that perhaps only siblings can understand.
“It’s really encouraging that it’s not just a teammate. She’s my sister and my friend and we know what we need to hear from each other,” Andee said. “I don’t need to be fake with her. I can tell her that ‘You need to get this one over,’ or ‘You need to play smart.’ She knows how to take it.”
First-year coach Talia Hamer sees it, not just the back and forth, but also trust building in one another. Both have played varsity since freshman year, and Hamer believes they know each other’s strengths well.
“They just have this weird chemistry together that can change the tide of a game just by a block or a kill, especially if they’re together in the front row at the same time,” Hamer said. “It’s really fun to be their coach and watch them from the sideline.”
It’s something Hamer said is helpful to have, not just to keep things fun, but also to build around.
“Like she said, they’re sisters, they have to love each other,” Hamer said. “So if we have a hard game, they can build each other up. But they can also be the ones to look at each other and say, ‘Hey, you need to pick this up. You need to figure it out.’ And if they’re making each other do that, it kind or makes everybody look at it and say, Hey, I need to do that too.’”
Mark Morris’ season hasn’t started the way it hoped — the Monarchs are 2-5 entering Tuesday’s Civil War — but the sisters offer a feeling that the Monarchs can always rebound.
The future for Andee Whitman, particularly, burns bright. At just under 6 feet, Madalyn says her younger sister is the better. As she moves forward, the team will increasingly rely on her.
“Really moving forward now is for her to be a leader and be an aggressive middle out there,” Hamer said. “Kind of demand a high level of play from everyone else on the court.”