By Nathan Foster
Polytechnic’s girl’s volleyball team is led by a pair of star players who have built their chemistry on the court for more than seven years. Identical twin sisters Ella and Zoey Mao enter their senior year with high expectations for the team and for themselves.
The sisters, originally from Los Angeles, began playing volleyball in fourth grade and never looked back. Zoey said they tried a few other sports before, including soccer and swimming, but they both fell in love with volleyball. They started playing club volleyball one year later with the San Gabriel Valley Elite Volleyball Club, where they still play in Poly’s offseason.
Both sisters are committed to play at the University of Chicago next year. They accepted offers from the school earlier this year, although that wasn’t always the plan.
“I definitely didn’t want to go to the same college at first,” Zoey said. “I wanted to branch out, be more independent, but I’m excited now. I’m sure we’re going to have a great four years together.”
Zoey said the swinging factor was that both of their parents went to the University of Chicago, so they already had strong attachments to the school.
Both Ella and Zoey said they are very excited for the new season to begin. Poly’s team made it to the CIF-SS Division 4 finals last year, where they lost to Garces Memorial.
“We only lost two seniors, so the team is pretty much the same,” Ella said. “But we also moved up a division, so I know it’s going to be tougher. I want to win our division and win the Prep League.”
Although these are high expectations, Ella and Zoey are the two players most equipped to take the team deep into the CIF postseason again. Both have been stars on Poly’s varsity team since their freshman year. Both have played club volleyball for the better part of a decade.
“We don’t really know anything different,” Ella said. “We’ve played together for so long and we’ll continue this year and for another four years after.”