Two volleyball teammates have been playing with each other for 10 years on club and high school teams. How many times do you think they’ve passed the ball to each other in their careers?
“Trillion?” Mercy senior setter Elena Scott said. “Infinity.”
Scott and her teammate Eleanor Beavin have known each since they first joined PNK volleyball club in elementary school. For about a decade, Scott has always been Beavin’s setter, and Beavin has always been Scott’s libero, both at PNK and Mercy Academy. They even played beach volleyball together.
“If you think: two- to three-hour practices, four to five days a week plus playing in games, plus club season, plus all those practices,” Mercy volleyball coach Matt Thomerson said, “I’d say they’re coming up on a couple million reps. And they’ve been doing it for 10 years.”
There’s really no way to count or calculate to correctly answer that question. But Beavin, perhaps, put it best when she said they’re “telepathic” and know each other’s moves on the court with a quick glance thanks to years of playing together.
“If she’s going up to set a ball and she wants to dump it, I know she’s going to do it based on her body position just because I can read her so well. I know when she wants the ball tighter,” she said. “We do speak, obviously, but it is crazy how well we know each other on the court and how much chemistry we have.”
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Using their synergy and years-long chemistry, the senior duo is savoring their final season together and striving for their first state title after finishing runner-up in the past three years, before they head to college, where they’ll still be part of each other’s lives but on rival teams.
Beavin is headed to Kentucky while Scott will be attending Louisville next year.
“Two players of that caliber, same high school team, going to in-state rival schools,” Thomerson said. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened.”
Both players laughed when asked about realizing their inseparable teammate will be going to their rival school.
Beavin committed to UK in September of 2018 and Scott to Louisville last July. While they had conversations about their recruiting process, it wasn’t until Scott had committed they realized their paths would diverge but still be intertwined.
“We’re going to play each other for four more years even though we’re not teammates. It’s super cool,” Beavin said. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It’s cool to be teammates for 10 years and be rivals. It should be a competitive game not only because U of L and Kentucky are (the) biggest rivals but because we’re going to want to beat each other.”
Both admitted it’ll be “weird” to see each other on the other side of the net but assured they’ll still remain friends.
But until that happens in 2021, they’ll be using their competitive spirit together to lead the Jaguars and bring the first state title trophy to Mercy since 2014.
The Jaguars showed promising signs when they took down Assumption, who beat them in the state finals the last three years, in the 2020 season opener. Though Scott was nursing an ankle injury and didn’t play, she’s gradually finding her rhythm back on the court. Not that she needs it with her decade-long teammate.
“It was so weird,” Beavin said about playing with another setter. “(Scott) a bit rusty from not playing but I feel like we’re on the same page. It’s OK if we take time off. We’re just right there with each other mentally.”
Thomerson compared the pair to Assumption’s Rylee Rader and Anna DeBeer, who graduated last year, and Meredith Jewell and Morgan Elmore from Mercy before he became the head coach.
“It’s not once in a lifetime, but it only happens a few times in your coaching career to get one player that is that smart and athletic. But to get two of them together,” he said admiringly. “You get one big hitter, it’s great, but if you don’t have your quarterback, your setter, it’s tough. If you have one greater defensive player, but you don’t have a setter or the hitters, it’s tough. When you get your primary defense and your quarterback running everything, it’s rare. It’s an awesome experience. I’d definitely say they’re leaving a legacy behind.”
Scott and Beavin have been teammates at PNK for about 10 years until Beavin switched teams a year ago. They’ve still been teammates at Mercy since 2017, meaning the two have been on the same side of the net every calendar year.
The two raked up as many accolades and honors and awards as they could at every level since then. Living just a few minutes away from each other and their families being close friends, the two seniors literally grew up together on and off the court.
Now, before each don a red and blue jersey in 2021, the only checkbox remaining for them is to win the final match of the season —the state championship game. During a pandemic when the season could be shut down or suspended anytime, they’re taking in each step and moment preciously.
“I just really hope that we can win state together and make our last season our best season. This is going to be the last time we’re going to play volleyball together,” Scott said. “It’s going to be so crazy seeing her on the other side of the net. It’ll actually be pretty sad. We’ll be a lot more competitive going forward but it’ll be fun.”