It is not uncommon for a volleyball player to call their teammates their sisters, but for Ohio juniors Emily and Olivia Margolies, the saying has a deeper meaning.
They are identical twins, and there hasn’t been a moment in their volleyball careers where Olivia and Emily have been apart. The two have played on the same teams ever since they first held a volleyball and were coached by their mother Laura.
The two began playing volleyball when they were in elementary school through the Olentangy Youth Athletic Association. They learned the fundamentals of the game such as passing and serving through rotations at each position. It was here that the twins’ passion began to develop.
“At the beginning, we did a beach (volleyball) tournament together, two-on-two, and we literally argued so much,” Emily said. “So, we were like ‘I don’t know if this is going to work.’”
When they were younger, it was common for the twins to argue on the court. They clashed often but the behavior subsided as they matured. From there, they continued to grow their bond that surpassed familial ties.
The Galena natives played for Mintonette Sports Volleyball Club throughout middle school and most of their high school careers before switching to Elite Volleyball Club for their senior year.
The twins also played volleyball and basketball at Olentangy High School. It was there that they cultivated their athletic relationship and put their “twin telepathy,” as Emily called it, to use.
There was a moment during a basketball game where their coach told them to run a certain play, but the two had other plans.
“There (were) 10 seconds left on the clock and we were tied,” Olivia said. “We looked at each other and we decided not to do what the coach was saying and we kind of made up a play … then we scored and won the game.”
The inherent trust the twins put in each other paid off in that game, and the improvised play proved they worked better as a pair.
But as much as the twins enjoyed playing basketball, it didn’t hold a candle to the passion they shared for volleyball.
Both believed they held a deeper connection to volleyball than other sports. It taught them lessons they hadn’t learned elsewhere, and the bond they held with each other and their teammates on the court was unparalleled. Their shared passion instilled in them a desire to continue playing together at the collegiate level.
They knew entering the recruitment process that they wanted to attend the same school. Olivia and Emily had similar outlooks on the types of schools they wanted to visit. However, they found that not every program had the roster space for a package deal. Coaches wanted to recruit both of the girls but most did not have the means to enroll the both of them.
But then they visited Ohio.
Ohio gave the twins the reassurance they were looking for. The program was open to the idea of having both of them on its roster.
“Ohio was awesome about (us playing together) and we got a really good commitment to it,” Emily said.
The twins began their careers for the Bobcats in 2019. Olivia played in 31 matches and recorded the third-most kills on the team while Emily redshirted. Now in their junior season, the twins do not regret their choice in joining the same program. It has given them the opportunity to expand on the bond they’ve built since they were in the fourth grade. They don’t find it odd to be teammates. They’ve always been side-by-side.
Being teammates comes with perks as well. They always have a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. The twins communicate openly to help each other through rough patches both on and off of the court. Through this open dialogue, they’ve also grown as individuals.
“I would say the biggest growth within myself is I think just finding out who I am as a volleyball player,” Olivia said. “Finding my voice on the court and outside volleyball.”
In the past it has been difficult for Olivia and Emily to reiterate that they are not the same person despite looking identical to each other. They work to differentiate themselves despite often being clumped together.
But they don’t have that issue with the Bobcats.
Ohio created a space for the twins to be together but separate as they grow into their respective roles as leaders. Their individual growth is recognized at Ohio.
There’s never been a moment where either twin would want their story to go any other way. In fact, they’ve embraced having each other around. Both have made friends on and off the court, but they know at the end of the day they can always rely on each other.