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ND Volleyball: Fesl sisters go head-to-head with high stakes

Ellyn Michalak | Thursday, November 8, 2007

The outcome of Friday’s match against Cincinnati will determine whether the Irish gain a spot in the Big East conference tournament.

But the match means much more than that to sophomore hitter Megan Fesl, who will be playing against her younger sister, Annie, a starting setter for the Bearcats.

Fesl calls the matchup “Fesl Fest ’07.”

The match will mark the first time the sisters have competed in a Division 1 game.

The Fesls were raised in a volleyball household in Arlington Heights, Ill. Fesl’s mother, Joanie, played volleyball for Iowa and introduced Megan and Annie to the sport at a young age.

“[My mom] coordinates all of the leagues, classes and clinics for middle and high school kids for the Arlington Heights Park District, so we were always in the gym with her and we started playing [volleyball] at a relatively young age,” Fesl said.

When the sisters started middle school, their mother began to coach their club volleyball team, where they first became competitively involved in the sport. Megan and Annie played side-by-side throughout high school as varsity starters at Hersey High School.

“Annie and I are really, really good friends,” Fesl said, “We have similar interests and have always been involved in the same things.”

The sisters were close friends, varsity starters and key elements to their team’s success. The duo combined their talents to lead the Hersey team to the state championship in 2004. Annie set for Megan’s powerful hits.

With each other’s assistance, the Fesls achieved a lot. Annie was selected twice to the all-state team, and was named Mid-Suburban League East Player of the Year during her senior year. Megan was named the 14th best high school senior by prepvolleyball.com, an AAU All-American in 2006, and a Junior Olympics all-tournament team selection, among other awards.

Megan and Annie finally split paths after graduation. Each chose different Big East schools.

The face-off between the sisters begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the Joyce Center. The beginning of the match will highlight yet another Fesl when the girls’ father, Rich, will sing the National Anthem.

“The match is going to be one of our most important games of the season,” Fesl said. “It’s the last weekend of regular season and both of our teams are vying for a spot in the Big East Tournament. This is going to be a very competitive match and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”