Seeing Double: Sisters Compete on Whittier College Volleyball and Soccer Teams

October 6, 2023

Sisterhood is a strong bond, as is training and competing on the same athletic team.

This year, two Whittier College sports teams feature a pair of sisters. 

For women’s soccer, third-year Layla Traylor and first-year Madeline Traylor from Covina are both playing the forward position on the pitch. Meanwhile, third-year Analise Kusleika and first-year Brenna Kusleika of Claremont are together as middle blockers on the women’s volleyball team.

Analise Kusleika Reaching for the Ball at a Whittier Poets Volleyball Match Spiking sisters

Volleyball Coach Chris Duarte-McDermott actually coached Analise and Brenna in middle and high school club teams before they came to Whittier.

“Having the same type of athlete with the same values we share in our program I think is gonna really help just the team dynamic overall,” Duarte-McDermott said.

While they have separate tastes — Analise likes country music while Brenna likes Frank Sinatra — their relationship is strong on and off the court. Brenna came to Whittier because she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play with her older sister.

“If it wasn't for Analise and my old teammates, I don't think I would still be playing,” Brenna said. “They helped me find the love for my sport again, and helped me continue to where I am today.”

Analise enjoys volleyball because it lets her be aggressive and competitive in a controlled environment. When playing with her sister, their chemistry allows for their intuitive skills to shine.

“It feels like I have a steady rock to hold on to whatever we're doing,” Analise said. “And I also know that I can be real with her. That's been great, because I can just look at her and know if my block was wrong.”

Sisters Layla and Madeline ​​Traylor Embrace During a Whittier Poets Soccer GamePitch-perfect pair

Not only are Layla and Madeline on the same soccer team, but they’re both psychology majors, too. The dynamic duo has always been close; Madeline views her older sister as her role model. Both are pursuing psychology out of the generous desire to help others.

“I want to be a child psychologist, because I think it’s important to help when they’re young,” Layla said. “If I can be one of those people to help them at an early age, and when they grow up, they can learn to do better and achieve more.”

For Layla, soccer is an escape that allows her to clear her mind and focus solely on the game. Likewise, Madeline uses the game as a sort of therapy.

“I just feel so much joy when stepping on the field,” Madeline said. “I just get to express myself fully. I get to show myself how much I can grow each and every practice or game and I just am a whole different person.”

Coach Derek Hanks is excited to have them on the same team.

“Layla is a leader of our program,” Hanks said. “She’s a special player that can score a goal and she's always dangerous. Maddie is a similar player. They both have great pace. They're both excellent on the ball, great passers, and great finishers.”

Visit WCPoets for volleyball and soccer game schedules.

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