As MSU women’s volleyball gets ready to kick off their first Big Ten match this season on Friday, a pair of sisters get ready to watch their schools face off for the first time.
Redshirt junior outside hitter Maddie Haggerty and her sister sophomore outside hitter Molly Haggerty, who plays for Wisconsin, will watch their schools compete against each for the first time in their collegiate careers.
“I think it’s a really cool experience,” Maddie said. “We’re very fortunate especially to go to different schools. It’s all fun to see each other on the other side of the net."
The sisters played together on their club volleyball team Sports Performance along with their older sister Meghan Haggerty, who is a former middle for Nebraska making all three of them Big Ten athletes.
“We’re so proud of them,” father Jerry Haggerty said. “It has been such a great family bonding experience with just the whole volleyball thing and being able to go from Big Ten school to Big Ten school and watch their progress. There’ll be ups and downs with college athletics, but it just has been a completely enjoyable journey.”
Maddie and Molly both agreed that the reason they started to play volleyball in the first place after watching their oldest sister play match after match. For Molly, watching Meghan play in the Big Ten is the reason why she wanted to play in that conference.
“Being younger than Meghan, I went to some of her Nebraska matches and I just really liked watching that level of play,” Molly said. “And then coming to Wisconsin, it was everything I expected and I think it is really cool to have two sisters that are in Big Ten programs and hear what they have to say about their programs and I can relate how they feel and things that are different.”
After winning a National Championship her senior year, Meghan continued to play volleyball in Sweden last year and now lives in Nebraska where she plans to watch both of her sisters for the first time in person when they come to town.
“Playing for Nebraska was a crazy experience,” Meghan said. “Just having four pretty successful years there and ending my senior year with a National Championship was just a dream come true. For both of them to play on different teams and now compete against each other it’s super exciting.”
Before coming to MSU, Maddie transferred last season from the University of Central Florida where she averaged 2.0 kills per set and hit and playing in all 32 matches. For her, academics and the volleyball program were the main reason for becoming a Spartan.
“We’re a pretty knit family team and they are just fun to be around them,” Maddie said. “Michigan State is a good volleyball program and we’re up and coming and not so much of underdogs anymore so it’s fun to be apart of that.”
For the three of them, playing in Big Ten programs was the ultimate goal. Playing at the same club brought them together even more by sharing the sport that they all grew to love.
When it comes to advice, Maddie and Molly feel that their older sister helped them in their younger years, but as they have gotten older the two have become closer.
“I would say my little sister and I gave each other more advice just because we’re the same position,” Maddie said. “We’re there to help each other even if we’re playing against each other.”
For Jerry and mom Stacey, they did not feel the need to push their daughters with their athletic careers rather that the sisters assisted each other on what they need work on or what they did best on.
From the earliest age, they always talked to each other,” Jerry said. “They come home from practice and my wife and I would be a fly on the wall just listening to them... so really they learnt from each other and again it was great for my wife and I just to kinda sit back and watch it all progress. “
During the middle of last season, Molly injured her back due a reoccurring herniated disk in her lower back causing her to get back surgery in January. She continued to suffer through pain after coming back towards the end of the season and is still uncertain on her play this season. What kept her going was the passion and drive from Maddie when she got injured her senior year of high school.
“Maddie got injured her senior season in high school and her having a major injury and seeing her handle her situation and going through that tough time, but still being in love with volleyball and didn’t play,” Molly said. “It was just helpful for me seeing how she handled it and trying to do best as I can, as she did it has been really helpful to see her do that.”
On Friday night, BTN2GO will stream the 8 p.m match in Wisconsin to start the Big Ten action. Last season, the Spartans fell to Wisconsin after losing all three sets back in November.
“To open the Big Ten play against her, our whole family is going to be there so that’ll be cool,” Maddie said. “We really didn’t play well against them last year so I gotta have bragging rights this year.”
No trash talking has begun, but there is one question that Molly is thinking about.
“I think the joke is just who’s the parents’ favorite and who they are going to be cheering for,” Molly said. “We’ll see, but there hasn’t been much talk yet, but we’ll see as the week goes on and the game gets closer what type of messages we’ll be giving each other.”
While putting the two teams aside, the two are looking forward to seeing each other and getting ready to spend time with their family.
“We’re just excited to see each other after a few months,” Maddie said. “We’re really close too so I’m excited.”
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