Luckily for Coker College, Amanda and Emily Harris are a package deal.
The twins originally planned on going to separate colleges, but a new plan was formed once they decided to play volleyball at the college level.
“I can’t imagine having played my entire life with her and then just all of a sudden not having that,” Amanda said.
The Whittell seniors both received partial scholarships to play volleyball at Division II Coker College in South Carolina this fall. Amanda was recruited as outside hitter and Emily as middle. Both girls felt immediately at home when they met the team.
“The coach was really aggressive. You know she wants to win, but she’s really helpful at the same time,” Emily said. “It was really welcoming and friendly, and when we were down there it just kind of made sense.”
The Harris sisters have been in athletic sync for the majority of their lives. In softball, Amanda pitches while Emily catches. In basketball, Emily runs the floor while Amanda drops the shots. In volleyball, their alternating kills and blocks leave confusion etched on an opponent’s face as she tries to figure out which sister is about to murder the ball.
But separate or together, both sisters are Division II caliber athletes in multiple sports.
“It really came down to picking between volleyball and softball,” Emily said, “and volleyball is just such a fast-paced sport. You’re always fighting for a point. Everything is always moving.”
Once volleyball was settled on, the girls set out to find a new team. They don’t necessarily have the height for Division I, and Division III wasn’t going to cut it.
“We practiced with a Division III school and it was similar to a high school level,” Emily said. “We want to go to a school where we can challenge ourselves to get better, and I think Coker definitely provides that.”
The girls spent two days visiting the South Carolina campus. They liked the volleyball players, the coach and the welcoming team environment.
“We mainly picked it because it’s so much like Tahoe. I loved that it really felt like a family,” Amanda said. “In those two days that we were there we got to know so many people. They were all really supportive and welcoming. In other schools, they were nervous about their positions being taken and hostile almost, but this school was so welcoming and so open.”
Seems the only business left for the Whittell seniors is getting used to wearing blue and yellow — their new school colors.
“I have no idea what the future is going to bring, but I know that as long as I’m playing volleyball and keeping up with my school work, it’s going to be a really bright future,” Amanda said, “and having Emily there will always encourage me not to slack in any aspect.”