PRIOR TO LAST FALL, ANDREA AND ALEXIS BODUNRIN HAD FOUND THEMSELVES ON THE SAME COURT IN A COMPETITIVE SETTING ONLY DURING THEIR MIDDLE SCHOOL DAYS.
The duo, who both play for Willowbrook Volleyball Club, are two years apart in age. So, playing on the same club team was never an option. Fast forward to the Fall of 2019 and they got their shot. If little sister, Alexis, could make the varsity team at Frassati Catholic.
"I felt like I had a lot to live up to since [Andrea] made varsity her freshman year," Alexis said. "It was comforting to know I had her there to rely on. I also already knew some people, so it was a good experience."
Alexis and Andrea naturally feed off each other during a match. Andrea is the Falcons' setter, while Alexis is one of the outside hitters.
"It was very exciting but also very nerve-racking," Andrea said. "We can sometimes argue but it's good because we're both so competitive. We want to win. But it was exciting because I'm a setter and she's a hitter, so whenever we got that perfect connection, it was always magic."
Throughout a season, a setter and hitter will eventually pick up on how the other one operates.
For the setter, they figure out where and how to place the ball best in the air for the hitter. That connection for Andrea and Alexis came a little faster and more natural, for the simple fact that they are sisters.
"I could count on her and I know her better than anyone on the court," Andrea said. "I know how she ticks, I know her strengths and weaknesses, so it was interesting how I could play that into my setting."
Alexis added: "She knows how I play since we've watched each other a lot. So she knew what set to give me in which situation and even if it wasn't the perfect set she knew I could get it over."
At season's end, Alexis earned first-team, all-district and second-team, all-state as a freshman. Andrea was a second-team, all-district selection.
Coming off last season, Alexis said their "chemistry was off the charts", which Andrea acknowledged by stating "it was just one look and it worked every single time."
As Andrea entered her senior year, this past season was special for many reasons.
"I am looking at colleges outside of Texas, so it's going to be our last year to connect on this level," she said. "Not just volleyball but even a deeper level."
Alexis described this fall as "bittersweet", since she knows this will be the last that they get to play together at this level. For her, a key lesson she wants to take away is watching her older sister lead the team.
So, next year when it is her turn to be the leader she is more than ready.
"She has amazing leadership skills and her attitude on the court is amazing," Alexis said. "She's my volleyball icon to know what I could live up to and how a leader should act on the court."
But the real question for big sister, because of course she had to take a moment and brag, was how good can Alexis be by the time her senior year rolls around.
"Right now, she's one of the best hitters I've ever seen, even in my age group," Andrea said. "If I compare her, it's unmatchable. "In three years, I can't even imagine where she's going to be."