Sullivan sisters: a team of their own

BY KENNY BUCK — buckke@mnstate.edu

When MSUM senior Sam Sullivan steps onto a volleyball court, she knows her duty as a setter for the Dragons.

“You’re kind of the quarterback of the offense,” she said. “You take charge and have to distribute the ball to the hitters.”

Being in sync with her teammates is critical, but she’s had more than enough practice in teamwork with her sisters.

Sam Sullivan is a triplet.

“I am identical with one of my sisters and then the other one is fraternal,” she said.

Growing up in Woodbury, Minn., Sam and her sisters Jenna and Nicole played volleyball together throughout their high school years.

“It was a lot of fun,” Nicole said, “especially when all three of us were on the court at the same time.”

Nicole is an exercise science major at MSUM and chose not to play volleyball after high school, unlike Jenna and Sam.

“Playing with Sam is definitely a lot different than cheering for her now,” Nicole said. “Although sometimes I wish I was still out there playing with her, it’s a lot of fun to watch and show her support.”

Volleyball seemed to be the topic of every conversation in the Sullivan household growing up and for Nicole that wasn’t always the easiest.

“Some days sharing everything with Jenna and Sam (including volleyball) could be frustrating, but it brought us a lot closer together, and it’s nice to share something in common with them that has such a huge impact on our lives.”

Sam’s identical twin Jenna plays volleyball and is studying human services at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minn.

Even though she has her own volleyball season to prepare for, Jenna does her best to support her sister Sam as much as possible.

“It can get difficult to actually be at her matches sometimes since I also play volleyball,” Jenna said. “Whenever Sam and I have matches at the same time, the first thing I always do when my match is over is figure out how her match went.”

Sam knows she always has her sisters to fall back on when she’s in need of support during a long and grueling volleyball season.

“Even if I do something wrong, they’re always at my side,” Sam said. “Having someone there for you no matter what is awesome to have.”

Their experiences as sisters have translated to success on and off the court.

“Working together as a group to get to that goal and just having each other’s back,” Sam said. “Being there for you as your teammates and being there for you (as friends) at the same time.”

“Volleyball has strengthened our relationships by giving us the opportunity to do what we love with one another,” Jenna said. “Volleyball has and always will be something all of us can do together and enjoy no matter what the circumstance is.”

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