A familial bond on the GW volleyball court

by Ian Redman

Sophomore Taylor Knox, left, and her sister, senior MacKenzie Knox, right, both compete for GW. The two always wanted to play volleyball together, and say their connection provides extra comfort on the court.
Media Credit: Michelle Rattinger
Sophomore Taylor Knox, left, and her sister, senior MacKenzie Knox, right, both compete for GW. The two always wanted to play volleyball together, and say their connection provides extra comfort on the court.

A hallmark of the volleyball team is its chemistry on the court, allowing them to move together as a unit and communicate quickly.

If you look closely, there’s one special connection, an even deeper bond.

That's because senior MacKenzie Knox, a middle blocker, and sophomore Taylor Knox, a right side hitter, are a unique combination – sisters and teammates.

“Especially when we are on the net next to each other, it is an extra comfort that is not always there with another player,” Taylor Knox said. “Its just extra comfortable.”

Both sisters initially took to the soccer field growing up, but once MacKenzie Knox switched to volleyball, her younger sister followed suit. Taylor Knox wanted to be “just like” her sister, so when she saw her role model switch sports, it was an easy decision for her to make the change, too.

Since Taylor Knox joined the GW (12-5) squad last season, it has been the only time they’ve shared the same court – an experience both had waited a long time for. For MacKenzie Knox, who wasn't home to experience her sister’s last two years of high school, the opportunity to watch her succeed on the court is particularly rewarding.

“We both played in high school together, but never on the same team,” MacKenzie Knox said. “That was always our dream to come and play volleyball together, but we never thought it would work out.”

After growing up in Huntington Beach, Calif., MacKenzie Knox wanted something different from the West Coast. Impressed by GW’s academics, she eagerly accepted its scholarship offer.

Taylor Knox again followed her sister, this time participating in a volleyball camp hosted by GW. Her play there also resulted in a scholarship offer, one she accepted without hesitation.

“After camp, they offered me a scholarship as well,” Taylor Knox said. “I couldn’t pass that up.”

Each sister enjoys the support and encouragement the other provides. They work out together off the court, even in the off-season, continually pushing each other to stronger performances. Their favorite part of playing together is the expanded fan base, being cheered on by friends and family, who often travel from California to see the Knox sisters play.

There’s no hint of sibling rivalry. Each sees her sister as an extension of herself, another player on the court who adds an extra edge to her own play and provides an extra boost of confidence.

“I think it would be very bad if we were at the same position, because I think we are both very competitive and strong headed and stubborn. But we are at different positions,” MacKenzie Knox said. “If we were both middles, I don’t think it would work out very good. I’d probably hate her. But I like her.”

Her sister laughed.

“Thanks for the honesty,” Taylor Knox said.

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