Sisterhood holds court for Lady Dukes

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Windsor High School’s volleyball program was focused on providing an important athletic outlet this spring for girls in grades 8-12, but the program also ended up being about family.

Across the junior varsity and varsity squads, the Lady Dukes were represented this year, in part, by three pairs of sisters.

Sophomore LeAnne Blythe competed on varsity, while her sister, eighth-grader Lauren Blythe, played on the JV team. Both sophomore Brianna Maye and eighth-grader Abigail Maye played on JV. Joining them was eighth-grader Tiffany Carr, whose older sister, sophomore Melissa Carr, played for the varsity squad.

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Though two of the pairs featured sisters on separate teams, they still had opportunities to take the court at the same time in the same match. These opportunities came during concurrent JV and varsity practices, which would sometimes conclude with a scrimmage between the JV and varsity squads.

Heather Blythe, mother of LeAnne and Lauren, was excited to see her daughters participating in volleyball together at Windsor.

“It was awesome because I’m a graduate of Windsor also, so I was super happy to see both of my girls continuing on in this position and playing and being able to play together,” Heather said. “There was a little competition. I think JV beat the varsity once or twice and then vice versa, so they got to give little jabs to both teams.”

The shared volleyball experience was one both LeAnne and Lauren enjoyed.

“I liked playing against her,” LeAnne said of her sister, noting she is close with Lauren and her friends. “Playing against them is fun, because it’s like friendly competitiveness.”

Lauren echoed some of these thoughts in describing what it was like being able to play against her older sister.

“It was pretty good,” she said. “Like she said, she’s close with some of my friends, I’m close with some of theirs, so it was fun playing against them.”

LeAnne and Lauren also play travel volleyball, but for separate Suffolk Edge teams.

Tiffany Carr also plays for Suffolk Edge, while her older sister, Melissa, is highly involved instead in travel softball. Nevertheless, Windsor volleyball provided the chance for their paths to cross directly within the realm of athletics.

Their mother, Candice Carr, indicated this crossing led to some good-natured, competitive talk between the sisters around the house.

“I like to tell Melissa that one day I’m going to sub in for her,” Tiffany said, referring to something that will be possible as early as next season, when Tiffany will be old enough to be eligible for varsity.

The first taste of playing in the same program was a distinctly positive one for Tiffany and Melissa.

“I thought it was fun, because we got to compete with each other and help each other to become better,” Tiffany said.

“It just felt like we were family,” Melissa said. “And we all knew what each other was going to be doing.”

Brianna and Abigail Maye were able to be part of the same roster during their first foray into volleyball, and both of them indicated they were interested in returning for more next season.

Their mother, Amy Maye, enjoyed seeing them expand their athletic horizons together.

“(I’m) super proud of them for going out there and giving it a try,” she said.

Amy noted each of her girls brought different approaches to the sport and to the Windsor JV team.

“Brianna in general is a super-competitive person; Abigail is not as much,” Amy said, adding that Abigail is simply focused on doing her best, while Brianna wants to do better than everybody else.

Brianna said playing on the same team as her sister was a fun opportunity that allowed them to learn from each other during practice — at school and at home.

“We would practice whenever we got free time,” she said.

Abigail said while she was mainly a substitute, she was on the court together with Brianna sometimes in matches during the course of the spring season, and overall, she enjoyed being on the journey together with her sister.

“We got to go to the same places together, experience the same things, and it was nice,” she said.

Also, she noted she did get better at being competitive as the season progressed.

Brianna said, “It was a pretty neat opportunity how we got to work together and use our sister bond and teamwork to be able to accomplish things on the court.”