The relationship between sisters is special. Playing for the same team just makes it stronger.
At least that’s the case for Haslet V.R. Eaton duo Kaylee and Kyndal Payne. The sisters are a part of a volleyball team that is trying to make a playoff push in its second year of varsity competition.
The shared court experience is still a bit different for each. Kaylee, a senior, is in her last hurrah as a high school athlete. Kyndal, a freshman, is beginning her “hurrah.”
However, they wouldn’t be on the court together if head coach Diane Wilson didn’t think they could contribute. They start and are six-rotation players. Both are 5-9 — Kyndal has her big sister by two millimeters — and are lined up opposite each other on the court. When Kaylee is at the right front, Kyndal is at the left back, and vice-versa.
“We’ve bonded over this experience and just seem to talk more than just volleyball,” Kyndal said. “We’re going through the ups and downs of everything. It’s great to share this with her.”
As sisters, we’re going to argue. But on the court, we communicate in a different way. It’s brought us closer.
Kaylee Payne on playing with sister Kyndal
This season, there will always be a Payne at the net. And they are becoming a pain at the net. They are two of the Lady Eagles’ most productive offensive players.
Kaylee has shifted positions throughout her career. She began as a middle blocker, moved to the left side her as a junior and is on the right side this fall. Kyndal is on the outside and played her way on to the varsity after playing in middle school last year.
“Overall, they’ve brought consistency to our play and helped us to get off to a good start,” Wilson said. “They’re both outstanding blockers and have the mobility to move around in the back row and get to balls that may be tough to reach.
“I did what was best for Kyndal by moving her up to varsity, because I thought she could handle it. I’ve not ever felt like she’s in Kaylee’s shadow. Right out of the gate, she’s stood out.”
Kaylee will also make history in November as she will be a part of the first group of Eaton athletes to sign letters of intent to compete in college athletics. She is expected to sign with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s volleyball program as a libero.
Change is coming to the Payne family. Every point, set and match hold so much value beyond the result. Still, there is a job to do. There is communication on one sister setting the other up at the net for a kill or to make sure other teammates are positioned correctly.
There are at least 10 more games remaining in the Eaton’s schedule. Wilson would like to extend it if the program can advance into the playoffs. Next fall, both each will chart her own course. Kaylee will try to figure out the mad scramble of college life. Kyndal has the opportunity to grow at Eaton.
“I’ve really enjoyed being with her,” Kaylee said. “We’ve worked so well together on the court. As sisters, we’re going to argue. But on the court, we communicate in a different way. It’s brought us closer.”