Beck sisters reunite, find success in Monroe

Cameron Jett, Editor-in-Chief

Uniting as teammates—it’s the dream of all siblings who grew up playing ball in the backyard. Some of those live the dream when they get to high school, but that’s usually as far as it goes. A lucky few get the chance to go on to play in college, but rarely at the same level, let alone together.

But at ULM, two sisters have partnered up once again after an unlikely journey led them both to Monroe.

Kaylie Beck accepted her opportunity to play beach volleyball for Southern Mississippi in 2020. It was an incredible moment for her that rewarded her for an impressive high school career at Woodcreek in California. But her high school days were cut short when COVID-19 shut the world down. It meant that her undefeated senior season was cut short.

It also meant that she had played her final game with her sister Kaitlyn.

Two years later, Kaitlyn Beck also earned a scholarship to play beach volleyball but as a member of ULM. She and Kaylie were set to be conference rivals, but Kaylie entered the transfer portal after two years with the Golden Eagles.

Kaitlyn showed support for her older sister during her time in the portal.

“I was really proud of her entering the transfer portal because that’s not an easy thing,” Kaitlyn said. “Deciding to leave can be scary, but that’s actually an opportunity I saw for her to be able to succeed somewhere else.”

She didn’t know where the portal would take her, but ULM’s beach volleyball staff reached out to Kaylie and offered a change of scenery, but most importantly, they offered a reunion with her sister.

The two thought they played their final game together until then.

“It’s just something that you don’t think you get to do,” Kaylie said. “Not a lot of siblings have that chance.”

Their lifetime of chemistry made the decision to pair these two together an easy one for the coaching staff, especially with Kaylie joining around a month and a half before the season began.

“With their already-close bond as sisters, it was pretty easy to just stick them together and let them go with it,” head coach Michael Hobson said.

And the decision to pair the two sisters together didn’t result in some novelty on the team—they’ve produced results on game day.

The beach volleyball team began the year on a 13-game win streak that went down as the best start in the program’s history.

Their winning ways have come by way of the complementary playstyles and personalities they possess.

The sisters described their play as an act of balancing each other’s energy at the right moments. Kaitlyn brings a competitive, high-speed mindset that has sparked some scoring runs for the pair, while Kaylie serves as an anchor that helps them lock in and close out games.

The differing personalities lead to some big moments in games and some entertaining ones during practice.

“My favorite is, [Kaylie] is partially deaf, so then when Kaitlyn has to repeat herself two or three times, she just ends up yelling at the top of her lungs, and then they both laugh at each other,” Hobson said.  

And for every sentimental moment the two share, they seem to have a big game moment on the court.

The sisters said a big moment in a game came against New Orleans earlier in the season. Coming into it, they knew that it was a game either team could win. The two played first against UNO and set the tempo for the rest of the team. Kaylie said it was their “loud” and “aggressive” play that lifted them past their opponents and ultimately secured a 3-2 win for the Warhawks.

“It was just so exciting; we were like, ‘yes, this is our season,’” Kaylie said.

Other big moments came to fruition in ways that were irrelevant to the outcome of the game.

Their parents made the trip to see them play in ULM’s first tournament of the season and created a moment that only a handful of families can ever experience.

“I actually wanted to cry, honestly, because it was really meaningful,” Kaylie said. “We also had our teammates on the sideline because we were the last pair playing. It felt like family, and it felt like home.”

For two strangers to Monroe, having a sister by their side in school, sports and life helped bring a piece of home with them from halfway across the country.