Lyons teammates to become rivalsLyons teammates Megan Miller (left) and Laura Williams will become rivals in the ACC next season. | Courtesy of Williams family.
Updated: September 12, 2011 7:22PM
A pair of future college volleyball careers started with informal games of pepper on Caroline Avenue in Western Springs.
Lyons seniors Megan Miller and Laura Williams won a Class 4A state volleyball championship last season, but will become rivals next season separated by 83 miles along Interstate-85 in central North Carolina.
Miller and Williams have grown up together as best friends, but realize they have only several more weeks remaining as high school teammates. Miller, a 5-foot-5 libero, verbally committed to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem and Williams, a 5-10 outside hitter, verbally committed to Duke University in Durham. The Atlantic Coast Conference schools are travel partners on the road.
Between the two, Miller was the first to make a verbal commitment. The first day of the early signing period for volleyball is in November.
“At the beginning, we were looking at different schools. We looked for what was best and both were stressed [by recruiting],” Miller said. “I visited Wake Forest and loved it so much. I decided if I go far away, that’s where I wanted to go. It will help both of us as friends. We are less than one hour away. That’s a comfort for us. I’m not saying that influenced each other, but we can help each other a lot.”
The duo have become like sisters. Williams is an only child and Miller has two older brothers in college. They spent hours passing a volleyball to each other in the front yard between their houses since Miller and Williams grew up as next-door neighbors. In the seventh grade, Williams and her parents moved from Caroline Avenue, but remained in the neighborhood. The girls remained best friends.
Miller and Williams attended Highlands School together from Kindergarten to eighth grade and even drive together to Lyons each morning.
The driver is usually determined by which girl wins a school lottery each semester for the closest reserved parking spot at North campus.
The girls have not only played volleyball together at Lyons or at the Lions Jrs./1st Alliance club, but when they were younger Miller and Wiliams participated in soccer, softball, swimming, basketball, cheerleading and have taken family vacations together.
Even their parents, Steve and Jan Miller and Bob and Kimberly Williams, remain very good friends.
For the first time, Miller and Williams played on separate club teams last spring while Williams was named all-tournament at USA Junior Nationals with Western Springs-based 1st Alliance 17 Silver and Miller played for 1st Alliance 17 Black.
“We’ve had our squabbles, but we’re friends like sisters,” Williams said. “Megan is really fun. She’s fun to be around.”
“Of the two of us, I’m the louder one and she’s the quieter one probably,” Miller said. “We match up well together. We fight like sisters sometimes do, but she can be funny too.”
Miller and Williams go shopping and to the movies together.
They will try to beat West Suburban Silver favorite York (9-2), which is ranked No. 2 by YourSeason.com, together for the second time this season at 6 p.m. Tuesday in La Grange. Lyons (6-2, 1-0) beat York in the season opener 25-19, 25-12 Sept. 2 in La Grange.
Lyons has changed its schedule this season by dropping its third quadrangular to start the season, which included Normal, Minooka and Joliet West last season. Lyons will join the McAuley Preview for the first time Friday and Saturday in a tournament which features out-of-state teams.
“I’m excited. I think in my four years at LT, we have not played an out-of-state team,” Williams said. “I hope to see one. I hope we can do well and win.”