Bobcats rookie middle Jodie Baker digs up a ball during Wednesday’s practice. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Bobcats fourth-year setter Kellie Baker sets up a kill during Wednesday’s practice. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
This past summer was quite different for Kellie and Jodie Baker.
Normally, the Brandon-born sisters see each other every day, since they still live with their parents. However, Kellie spent part of her summer trying out for the national B volleyball team, while Jodie was away training with the provincial under-18 team before joining the Canadian junior women’s squad.
However, the pair are about to spend more time together than ever before. This winter, they’ll attend Brandon University — where they share one class — and will both suit up for the BU Bobcats women’s volleyball team.
"I didn’t see her (in the summer) so being here (at training camp) has been like reuniting because we didn’t spend much time together this summer where we’re normally together all the time. It was kind of cool," Kellie said. "I think (this season) will be fun. It’s different to share it with a sibling. There hasn’t been any conflict or problems yet, so that’s a good thing. It’s nice. We get to travel in and out together and not have to worry about taking two vehicles as well."
This season will be extra special for the Baker sisters as it’s the first time they will ever play competitive volleyball on the same team. However, they’ll be filling very different roles.
Kellie, a 5-foot-10 setter, is entering her fourth season with the squad and has been named a team captain along with third-year left side Victoria Dakin. Meanwhile, Jodie, a 6-foot-1 middle fresh out of Crocus Plains, is entering her first season with the team and has started playing a little bit of right side due to the Bobcats’ strength at middle.
Jodie knows it’s a big jump to go from high school to university volleyball, and that it’s even tougher to switch positions. So she’s looked for help from her big sister.
"I look to Kellie quite a bit because she is one of the captains and she obviously knows what she’s talking about, having played at this level for three years," Jodie said. "I do look to her for help. … She just knows more where to go on defence and stuff and block placement and everything. Just knows the position better than I do, so she helps me out a lot."
The Baker sisters aren’t the only ones excited about the prospect of them playing together. Bobcats head coach Lee Carter wants to see what the pair can accomplish as well.
Carter knew Jodie would come up the ranks a few years after Kellie committed to the Bobcats and he has been waiting to put them together on the same court. He likes the impact Kellie and Ashley Creighton, her cousin, have made on the Bobcats so far and hopes that trend continues in their family.
"If you look at Ashley and Kellie now and Jodie coming through, that whole family has had a huge impact in our (program) and the eight years we’ve been involved," he said. "We expect both girls to continue doing that."
While the Baker girls are thrilled to play on the same team, they have a few more goals they want to accomplish together. One of them is to team up for a set-kill combination in Canada West play, and Kellie will try to do everything she can to help Jodie make the team to make that dream come true.
"It will be pretty cool to hear the announcers go ‘Baker to Baker!’" she said. "It will be interesting. I’ve never had that opportunity to play with her before and it will be nice to have that sibling connection on the court."
"It would definitely be a super cool feeling," Jodie added. "It would be great with any team, but especially with my sister there, it would be even better."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 13, 2012