Serving up sisterhood

Sibling outside hitters savor their first season as teammates


photo courtesy of Sydney Nabhan

The Nabhan sisters. senior Sydney and junior. Rachel pose while on a hike in Colorado wih the rest of their family. Both sisters cite activities off the court as their best bonding-experiences.

Anna McClellan and Evelyn Griffin

Sydney and Rachel Nabhan have enjoyed their time together off the volleyball court for the past 10 years, watching each other play while sitting on the sidelines. This year, however, they got the chance to play together for the first time beyoond their backyard. The time as teammates strengthened their relationship as sisters and friends.

I like that [Sydney] is honest with me and helps me become a better player. It is [also] fun playing on the same team as my sister. It’s like having an automatic friend on the court.

— junior Rachel Nabhan

“My favorite part is that I always have someone to talk to who I know will be there for me,” Sydney said. Sydney is a senior and the elder of the two sisters. Rachel, a junior, couldn’t agree more.
“I like that she is honest with me and helps me become a better player,” Rachel said. “It is fun playing on the same team as my sister. It’s like having an automatic friend on the court.”

But it’s not all fun and volleyball games. Sydney and Rachel both play the position of outside hitter, and they get competitive at times. According to Rachel, the competition puts a strain on their relationship, but so far, they have maintained a truce.

“It’s hard playing with each other in the sense that it is a competitive sport, so we have to compete with each other while still maintaining a good relationship,” she said.

The girls’ post-game tradition consists of dinner with teammates and late-night drives around Austin. Another ritual that helps their relationship is spending time together away from volleyball entirely. Whether it is going thrifting on weekends or simply baking in their kitchen at home, Sydney and Rachel always have something fun in store.

Senior Sydney Nabhan hits the ball over the net during the Knights’ home loss to Anderson Sept. 8. Photo by Dave Winter. Rachel Nabhan serves during the Knights’ sweep of Northeast on Oct. 1. Photo by Elly Schottman.

“My favorite thing to do with Sydney outside of volleyball would just be hanging out with her,” Rachel said. “We don’t really plan activities to do with each other so we often just end up talking. If we do end up doing something, it’s usually playing a card game or baking while watching a show [or] listening to music.”

Sydney also enjoys their baking projects when she can sit back and let Rachel be in control.

“She always does most of the work while I taste test everything,” she said. “I clean up, though. This bonding time strengthens our relationship.”

Because she does not plan on continuing playing in college, Sydney has only until graduation to play volleyball.

“I will miss playing with Rachel and playing volleyball in general,” Sydney said. “I don’t plan on playing in college, other than an occasional fun game with friends.”

After this year, Rachel still has her senior year on the court, but she will miss playing with her best friend.

“Since this was my first time being on the same team as her, it made the season more enjoyable, but also kind of sad and sentimental,” Rachel said. “It was nice playing alongside Sydney during her first and last game.”