BY ABBIE VIZENOR | The Statesman For many college freshmen, the transition from high school can be difficult—but not when your best friend is at your side.
UMD freshman volleyball players Erin Schindler and Sarah Kelly are both best friends and Chaska High School graduates. The two met in 5th grade while playing basketball together and have been inseparable ever since. While they didn’t plan it, they ended up as something of a package deal for head coach Jim Boos.
He had been following the girls for a while before he actually began recruiting them.
“Getting them both was just an extra bonus,” Boos said.
The two have been playing volleyball together for six years. Playing side by side on the Chaska High School varsity team, they won the Minnesota State volleyball tournament their senior year.
“It was the best. It was so fun,” Schindler said.
The girls didn’t plan on coming to UMD together but after coming to watch some Bulldog volleyball games, exploring the city and meeting the coaches, the girls felt it was the right fit.
“We both really loved the coaches,” Schindler said. “Sarah committed and then two weeks later I committed. It was a good coincidence, I guess.”
The thought of going to college together wasn't something they thought about very seriously.
“We always joked about coming to college together and thought it would be fun, but never expected it to happen,” Kelly said.
While playing their first college-level volleyball game in the Courtyard by Marriott Volleyball Classic tournament in Tampa, Florida, the girls were inevitably intimidated.
“Starting on the floor was a little scary but it's nice to have Sarah as a familiar face on the court with me,” Schindler said.
Having each other on the court reminded them of playing in high school again and made the switch from high school to college level a bit easier.
“It was a good transition because playing with a whole group of new people would have been difficult, so it was nice to have Erin playing with me. It made me feel more comfortable,” Kelly said.
Having that comfort on the court also reflected how they felt about the transition to college.
“It's easier and harder at the same time. When we have down time we just hang out together instead of finding other people to hang out with,” Kelly said as Schindler laughed.
Even though the girls are best friends, they are distant on the court. Kelly is a right side hitter while Schindler is finding time as a libero.
While they may not be one and the same on the court, off of it they are. It’s a closeness that teammate Kelly Madison can attest to. She’s known the two since she went up against them playing for Eagan High School.
“They are literally so close. Off the court they answer each other's questions because they’re been friends forever. It's so funny seeing them together. It’s cute,” Madison said.
Both the girls have added a lot of talent to the team and head coach Boos only sees the girls improving in the future.
“I’m excited to be a part of that transition and growth,” Boos said.