This year ACU volleyball welcomed seven freshmen, two of which came from the same hometown, and yes, the same high school.
Middle blocker Marybeth Sandercox and right side hitter Makenna LeSueur have been playing alongside each other on the court since their freshman year at Frenship High School in Lubbock, Texas. And now they are bringing their talent and history of teamwork to Abilene as they begin their college career.
Coming from a large, 6A public school like Frenship, the pair knew each other as teammates, but it wasn’t until they signed to play at the collegiate level that their friendship began to really grow.
“I thought we were going to go our separate ways, but God just kind of lead us to the same place,” LeSueur said.
Facing the transition all incoming freshman face of leaving home and moving to a new place with new people, LeSueur and Sandercox appreciate the familiarity of each other now more than ever.
“We came into two-a-days and just having her in the gym and being able to be like ‘hey you know what, you got this,’” LeSueur said. “It’s nice having that extra confidence.”
With eight games down in their college career, the two look forward to the rest of this season and growing together on and off the court. They’re anticipating the opportunities they will have to mature as players and individuals, and face the transition with faith and an optimistic attitude alongside the rest of the team.
“I have never met so many different people that get along so well,” Sandercox said.
Being a part of a group of girls coming from different places, schools and personalities, the two players love playing with the rest of their team, and are thankful to have each other to enrich their experience and fall back on when they need encouragement.
Like all students, athletes have their good and bad days, and LeSueur and Sandercox acknowledge that there are going to be tough times along the way, but look to each other for support when they feel like they need that extra dose of encouragement and drive.
“It’s great to talk to each other off the court so we can keep each other accountable with Christ and relationships and just life,” Sandercox said. “She’s definitely that person that does that, and I do that for her as well.”
As their friendship grows off the court, it continues to magnify their chemistry as teammates. Having played alongside each other for several years already, they are able to use that history to push themselves to be successful in practice and in competition.
“She knows how I play and she knows what keeps me going and what encourages me,” LeSueur said.
Sandercox agreed by saying that they are good at reading each other, and that it shows in the way they play the game and interact with the team.
Head coach Jason Bibler spoke highly of each of the girls and is anticipating a fun and successful season for the team as a whole. He expects great things from all the freshmen brought on this year as they learn and improve during their time in the program, including LeSuer and Sandercox.
“We have a very talented group of freshmen,” Bibler said. “They all have the opportunity to help us in the here and now and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
As the Frenship duo continues to grow closer on and off the court, they hope the team will continue to improve as it moves closer to the Southland Conference opener, Sept. 22.
On the heels of a big victory over UT-Arlington, Marybeth, Makenna and the rest of the team will travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech, UT-Rio Grande Valley and Oral Roberts.