There were no spectators in the stands when Juliet Young and the Guilford volleyball team nailed down the SCC Div. C championship Friday.
While COVID safety measures meant there was relative quiet in the Guilford gym, Young didn’t have to look far to find one of her closest fans, who was waiting at home.
Twin sisters Juliet and Eve Young both finished their fall seasons as SCC division champions last week — Eve as the starting goalie for the school’s field hockey team, and Juliet as a libero in volleyball.
The senior siblings have excelled at a high level — both are All-SCC players this season — and have pushed each other to succeed.
“We definitely hold each other to high standards and it’s really fun to be athletes who both support each other on our teams,” Juliet said. “It’s definitely special to have someone to share all of this with.”
“It’s really empowering,” Eve said. “We inspire each other, we push each other, and we support each other. I think that’s just a great thing to have because we’re going through similar things.”
Eve and the Guilford field hockey team started the championship party by topping top-seeded Cheshire 5-1 for the SCC Div. A title on Nov. 11. Guilford (13-1-0-1) avenged its only loss of the season, and continued its recent run of titles, which includes two straight SCC and Class M crowns.
“It’s great because (it’s) three years in a row, and especially against Cheshire, who’s a really great rival,” Eve said. “That was the first time we had beaten Cheshire on their field and both teams gave it their all. It was a really special moment that I can take through the rest of my life.”
Two days later, the Guilford volleyball team wrapped up a perfect season at 14-0 when it topped East Haven in straight sets, 25-22, 25-10, 25-15 in the SCC Div. C final. Guilford had broken through last fall, winning the program’s first SCC title in 25 years.
“None of us thought we would get this far, honestly,” Juliet said after that game. “Something that was super special, regardless of how it was set up or the games, was us just being able to play together. Our chemistry is fantastic and we are so grateful we had the time to spend together. Even though the season was strange, we did it together and we had so much fun.”
Each sister has played the other’s sport, albeit at a younger age, as they took part in a field hockey camp together in the sixth grade, and then tried volleyball in the seventh grade.
Both cited a love for the sport they eventually chose, even though those choices took them to different teams.
“In seventh grade, I played volleyball. It was definitely an interesting experience,” Eve said. “Juliet picked up volleyball very quickly and turned it into something she loves now. For me, I wanted to try field hockey and that took off from there.”
Becoming a goalie was the next step, and that position comes with a unique kind of pressure.
“There can be a lot of pressure at times, but at the end of the day, when your teammates race the field and are excited for you, it’s great,” Eve said. “My teammates have been so, so supportive. I’m so lucky to have a team that’s with me all the way, and I’m with them all the way. (Playing Guilford field hockey) has been an amazing and touching experience.”
For Juliet, it was the team vibe and the pace of play that pulled her to volleyball.
“I was just attracted to this sport because of the way everyone came together and for me, it was very energetic and had so much positive energy,” Juliet said. “It’s fast, quick-moving, and I really like that. Field hockey requires a lot more endurance and is a little longer, but it still has that team aspect.”
She called Guilford volleyball a “safe space” for players during their high school careers.
“We’ve been able to push one another and push ourselves,” Juliet said of her teammates. “It’s been a space where it gives us a break from school. It creates a really nice community that’s different and fun and allows us to expand as athletes and people.”
Now, the sisters are going through the college process and Juliet, a club volleyball player, is looking to continue playing at the next level.
Eve, meanwhile, has one more sports season remaining at Guilford as she’s the only girl playing on the school’s golf team in the spring.
Through each and every game at Guilford, with more victories than defeats, Eve and Juliet have been able to go home to one of their biggest fans.
“We’ve always been on top of each other asking ‘how did your game go?’ and “did you win?’,” Eve said. “The pandemic has made it different with the fan situation, but in years past, we’d always go to each other’s games and support each other in any way we can. It’s been super fun.”