Jones sisters faced each other in WPIAL final
MOON TWP — For a parent, it was picturesque and a predicament, all at once.
In the case of Blaine and Shannyn Jones, it was so much more so the former than the latter.
The Bridgeville couple watched from the UPMC Events Center stands as their daughters, North Catholic’s Sydnei and South Fayette’s Madisyn, stood on opposite sides of the volleyball net Nov. 5.
The older of the two sisters, Sydnei, and the top-seeded Trojanettes grabbed the WPIAL Class 3A crown in four sets, but the match will be remembered in Jones’ household for the occasion, not the outcome.
“We can’t even play a game of Monopoly,” Blaine said. “It’s competitive. We want them to compete. On the court, they have to go at each other. After, they hug, they love each other. They’re sisters. This is what we want.”
Tears weren’t shed, however. Madisyn cheered loudly when the first-place medal was bestowed upon her older sister.
“If (there’s) anybody I’m going to lose to, it has to be my sister,” said Madisyn, a sophomore defensive specialist who is 18 months younger than Sydnei. “I know that she worked her butt off for every single point and she’s running down every single ball.”
Afterward, the two posed for photos with their teams’ trophies. Having played the sport for a decade, they’d amazingly never shared the court in a competitive setting.
“We’re already a very competitive family,” said Sydnei, a senior setter. “On top of that, the WPIAL championship, we’re playing against each other, the camaraderie just never ended.
“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime thing … For the first time, there couldn’t be a better stage.”
In comparison to last Tuesday’s stressful semifinal round, the final was a more relaxed watch for the parents. Madisyn’s Lions upset No. 3 Greater Latrobe in the early game before North downed No. 4 Thomas Jefferson.
“We were at work, we couldn’t eat or anything,” said Blaine, who met Shannyn when both were scholarship athletes at Howard University. “We didn’t want one to go through and not the other … You should’ve seen us. We were a bag of nerves.”
“The moment we won and I realized we could get to play her, it was the best thing that has happened to me,” Madisyn said.
Shannyn and Blaine wore custom gray hoodies for the match — made by the latter’s sister and overnighted from Las Vegas on Friday. The logos of both squads adorned the front and the girls’ numbers, the back. They both also wore one red shoe and one green shoe.
“We’re all getting medals,” Shannyn said. “We’re winning no matter what.”
The parents split their time between games all season, usually choosing where to go based on how quickly they could get there. Blaine would normally watch two games at once if the one he wasn’t at was being live-streamed.
“We divide and conquer,” Shannyn said. “Whichever one, after work, you’re closer to, you go to that one, I go to this one. Then, we meet at night and have a long chat about who did what, and how did it go?
“If it’s being filmed, we’ll run it back and watch.”
Like her older brother, Blainey, a freshman on Penn State’s boys volleyball roster, Sydnei drew interest from schools near and far — such as Virginia, Oklahoma, UNLV, and Princeton. She pledged to Howard the first week of her junior season.
“That’s the only school she’s wanted since she was two years old,” Shannyn said. “It’s a huge deal in our family. We’ve got a long legacy, so she’s fulfilling that.”
The sisters are still waiting for the day that they can team up.
“She’s been invited to a few camps,” Shannyn said of Madisyn. “I think her heart is at Howard already. We’ll see how it all plays out.”