Sister Act: Volleyball coaches keep it in the family
Jessica and Rachel Lassey aren’t your typical Dartmouth siblings.
They both went to Dartmouth High school, and unlike most, they both came back years later to do the same thing: Coach volleyball.
Although she’s eighteen months younger, Rachel is the head coach for the varsity team, and Jessica coaches Junior Varsity.
Jessica has played the game since 8th grade, while Rachel started off playing softball instead.
Rachel said at first she wasn’t interested in volleyball, but her softball coach saw her on the sidelines watching one of his daughter’s games and he laughed at her.
“He said ‘What are you doing? Get out there and go play,’” she said. “So the first time I ever played volleyball, I was in jeans and a sweater. And that was the end of it. I’ve played ever since then.”
The sisters have never played on the same team, as Rachel was two years behind Jessica at school and both went on to play for different teams in college.
But they work well together.
“We’ve always been competitive people,” laughed Jessica. “But when it comes to the volleyball program, in the end it’s always what wins is what’s best for the program.”
This season has started off strong, with the varsity team winning their first two games against Bishop Stang and Brockton.
“This season’s fantastic. It’s the most athletic group of girls that we’ve ever had,” said Rachel, who noted that this year she has ten seniors on the team. “They’re so athletic, they’re so hardworking. They’re committed, they’re passionate.”
At their last game against Brockton, one of the players — senior Cierra Yin, who is listed as a ‘player to watch’ by the Boston Globe — beat the Dartmouth record for most aces per game, with twelve unbeatable serves.
Rachel said that the sisters take pride in how much the kids love the sport. “We tell them when they start that they’re going to hopefully fall in love with the sport, and fall in love with the people that are involved. And they do,” she said.
“It becomes like a sisterhood, or a family,” Jessica agreed.
But for this team, calling it a family is more literal than for most.
The two admit that sometimes it can be hard working with a sibling.
“[Rachel] likes to try to boss me around sometimes, but this is the only place she can do it,” Jessica laughed. “So I let it go.”
Rachel rolled her eyes. “It has its moments,” she said wryly, before adding “If she was not by my side, I wouldn’t want to do it.”
“I can help her without hesitation, and she can help me without hesitation,” Jessica agreed.
“And you can say what you really feel without having to worry...We can just say it how it is,” added Rachel.
She continued, “We don’t live at home together anymore, so it’s nice. We get to spend all this time together. And our parents — like they did in high school — come to every single one of our games.”
As for her plans once the ten seniors on the team graduate, Rachel simply laughed and nodded at her sister. “That’s her job!”