GOOCHLAND - They’ve both been playing volleyball since sixth grade - senior Trinity Wonderling for seven years and her younger sister, sophomore Nova Wonderling, for five.
But it wasn’t until this year - on Goochland Volleyball’s varsity unit - that Trinity and Nova finally got to play on the same team together as teammates.
It’ll also be their last together - at least in high school - but to say they’ve made the most of it would be putting it lightly.
Because it’s not every year you and your sibling can say you both had a hand in a team unleashing 15 straight regular-season wins.
Trinity holds the team's lead setter role, and Nova plays outside, but their versatility stretches beyond their designated positions on the court.
“It’s great to have them around - they both are all over the place, they talk really well, they work really well with their teammates,” Goochland head volleyball coach Rachel Jacobsen said of Trinity and Nova. “They’re fun to be around and they work really hard. It’s good to have them both.”
They’ve enjoyed getting to play on the same team together - "I love playing with her," Nova said of her older sister Trinity - and it's not just because they can “criticize each other a lot more,” Trinity said as she and her sister Nova laughed. Nova likes Trinity’s sets because they’re faster and easier for her to hit personally, and Trinity likes setting Nova because she hits fast plays, and it’s “extremely important - especially in playoffs - to be able to just get the ball out there and confuse the defense,” Trinity said.
While Trinity likes blocking Nova in practice, they don’t really compete in any other way, because they want to be teammates and work together to make the play the best they can.
“It’s fun watching them get to be out there together, too,” Jacobsen said. “They feed off of each other in a younger-sister, older-sister kind of thing, they give each other pointers...”
And Jacobsen added that both sisters are “both really steady, they’re both really good leaders on the court and they both step up when they need to.”
Trinity loves everything about volleyball - knowing each position, being able to read everything, knowing where the opposing team is going to hit, and - she added smiling - diving for the ball. Nova likes the energy of the game - and being able to take her aggression out on the ball, she added laughing.
But that aggression visually translates, as Nova’s big swing helped her laser 11 kills past Fluvanna in a 3-1 victory on Oct. 2 and 7 kills past Bluestone in a 3-1 win on Sept. 24.
Trinity praised her sister’s serving and hitting, while Nova said Trinity is the better setter of the two. And Nova - who is a diving force herself when it comes to saving the ball - can defensively hone in on the incoming attacks for digs. Trinity is also a reliable hitter, adding 9 kills to her 15 assists in Goochland’s Oct. 2 win over Fluvanna and 7 kills plus 2 aces to her 25 assists in the Bulldogs’ Sept. 24 win over Bluestone.
Both players helped their Bulldogs (15-0) roll past Prince Edward on Thursday, Oct. 10 in straight sets (25-12, 25-12, 25-10). Nova made 5 kills and Trinity added 4 kills to her 13 assists. Sophomore and fellow setter Blair Bussells made 12 assists, senior Libero Ellie Spencer had 9 digs and senior middle Mary King delivered 8 kills.
Goochland started off the week with a hard-fought straight-set win (25-22, 25-20, 25-20) over Amelia on Tuesday, Oct. 8. King made 9 kills; Trinity added 6 kills to her 16 assists, Spencer delivered 18 digs and outside hitter Taylor Michaels made 5 kills and 8 digs.
The Bulldogs play at Nottoway on Tuesday, Oct. 15 before hosting Central Lunenburg on Monday, Oct. 21 - also Goochland’s Senior Night.
The regular season wraps up with a Thursday, Oct. 24 match at Bluestone. All three varsity matches will follow JV’s games at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re setting goals for ourselves each game and making sure that we’re working on the things we need to work on…” Jacobsen said. “They’re working hard, we’re keeping our focus and just working on the little details now.”