St. Amant — Sibling rivalry has come to the volleyball court in Gatorland.
St. Amant High School varsity volleyball coach Allison Leake knew when the teams were picked that she would have five sets of sisters on the school’s three — freshman, junior varsity and varsity — volleyball teams this season, but it wasn’t until the first game that she realized “that caused a whole new dynamic on the team.”
“With two sets of sisters on the court during the varsity games, I noticed the chemistry was off,” Leake said. “It took me a while to realize that it was a sister thing.”
Leake, the daughter of a longtime high school volleyball coach, said she’s never heard of any school dealing with five sets of siblings playing the same sport at the same time.
“Yeah, it’s rare, very rare,” Leake said.
Sisters Alli and Maggie Duplechein and Kara and Kourtney Gremillion agreed that having your sister on the court changes things.
“No one can talk to you like your sister,” Maggie Duplechein said.
Maggie, a sophomore on the varsity team, was excited when she made the team and knew she would be playing with her older sister.
However, the siblings agreed that things have been a bit rough at times.
If one makes a mistake, the other sister is more likely to “let her know about it than other players,” Leake said.
Leake said there have been some angry looks and tense exchanges on the court.
The Gremillion sisters said that while they really aren’t jealous of each other, there has been some tension.
“I just have to say ‘stop,’ ” Kourtney Gremillion, a junior and the younger of the sisters, said of her reaction to her sister’s words on the court.
In addition to the Duplecheins and the Gremillions, Maci and Megan Marchand, Madison and Chloe Anderson and Blair and Baylee Rambin round out the sister squads.
One more twist: Leake’s younger sister, Rae Broussard, coaches the freshman team.
“Yes, I know about the sister thing, but we never played together on the court,” Broussard said.
The sister talk
To deal with the sister dynamic, the coaches had a recent meeting with some of the teens to talk about the difference between being sisters and teammates.
“They absolutely love each other, but when a mistake is made, it’s easier to blame a family member than another teammate,” Leake said.
“We talked about respect and the fact that you’re not a sister on the court, but a teammate,” Leake said.
Leake said the girls responded well to the talk and she sees some improvement in their court attitude.
“When everything ticks, it’s like a family barbecue when everyone is happy, but when something goes wrong either on or off the court, it shows up on the court,” Leake said.
Lee Anderson said he’s glad his daughters are playing on separate teams most of the time.
Anderson sat in the stands during a recent freshman game cheering for Chloe.
“Yes, I’m a volleyball dad … and proud of it,” Anderson said.
He said his daughters support each other and are glad to share the volleyball experience. Having to attend two games during each outing does make for long nights.
“I spend a lot time in the gym these days,” Anderson said.
He praised the coaches for their teaching methods and patience with the girls.
Jessica Marchand said she’s become accustomed to dealing with the sister dynamic as her two girls play softball, basketball and volleyball.
“It’s good to know that they have a friend on the team,” Marchand said. “They have a shoulder to lean on — on the court and at home.”
Scott Duplechein said having two daughters on the same team means his family dinner table is dominated by “talk of volleyball, a lot.”
Duplechein, who has a third daughter playing volleyball in middle school, said that when it’s all done, he will have watched his girls play 10 seasons of varsity volleyball.
“We’ve got to deal with the sister thing every day,” he said. “And, for the most part, it’s working.”
The coaches are confident that things are going to click soon and the sister squad will add a closeness that many teams don’t have.
“It’s all going to work, I have confidence in the girls,” Leake said.