At least, they say they don’t.
Their mother, Susan, backs them up, saying they are “best friends,” which explains why they play so well together. The Warners are helping Walker volleyball get its season off to a solid start with a 10-2 overall record.
Many think they are twins, even their own teammates. They closely resemble each other and Paige is half an inch taller at 6-foot-1. Both of them say they even act alike, even though Paige is more of an extrovert.
But they really aren’t twins. Paige is a senior middle hitter that is two years older than Brooke, a sophomore middle hitter who had just converted to setter and rightside hitter.
“They have been mistaken all the time as twins, which they like,” Walker coach Karen Arndt said. They get called the ‘Twin Towers’ and think it’s funny. And when one sister gets called the other, they quickly correct that person and laugh. From behind, they look similar, and the team has a good time with that.”
Paige took an interest in volleyball in the sixth grade and began playing year-round with Walker and the A5 Club. Brooke, who was still in elementary school, took up volleyball mostly because she wanted to follow her sister.
Six years later, they’re having a great time as teammates. Volleyball has helped to build their relationship, especially after Paige recovered from a bout with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition involving low blood pressure.
Symptoms lead to exercise intolerance, lightheadedness, stomach aches, fatigue and fainting. The condition can also cause patients to get sick for longer periods of time. Even more frightening to Paige than the diagnosis itself, she was experiencing the symptoms without knowing the cause.
“I was actually relieved that there was a name for what I was experiencing and a way to treat it,” she said.
Paige was diagnosed the summer before her freshman year and was told by doctors that most patients grow out of it as they get older, and she appears to be on the right track. While Paige’s condition has improved each year since her diagnosis, she’s required to maintain strict dieting, and a strict sleep and exercise schedule to remain healthy.
However, Paige overworked herself last fall and an extended illness forced her to miss a chunk of last season. But she got healthy in time to help Walker win the Area 5AA/A tournament and advance to the state quarterfinals.
“Last year, (Paige) thought she was going to be better than she was,” Susan said. “The more activity she did and the harder she pushed, the sicker she got.”
As of now, Paige is healthy and is having a stellar season at middle hitter. The Warners crossed their fingers last week when Paige caught a cold, Susan said, but Paige quickly fought it off.
According to Brooke, Paige’s condition has brought the sisters closer together.
“I was so relieved that she had gotten better,” Brooke said. “Going to school and hearing what she was going through was scary but it brought us closer in the end.”
Said Arndt: “When Paige went her thing, even when Paige had her bad days and had go to the hospital, Brooke felt bad, but I think that made Brooke play harder, and I think she plays for Paige and herself because of that.”
It could be that very reason Brooke had a phenomenal freshman year as a middle hitter, but since then, her role on the team has changed as a result of Walker graduating five key seniors.
Brooke took Volley Performance classes during the offseason to help build her skills as a setter and has picked it up quickly. Now, she’s enjoying her dual role as a setter and rightside hitter.
And, statistically, Brooke seems to do it all. She had a combined 27 assists, 15 kills, 2½ blocks and three aces in the Lady Wolverines’ wins over Landmark Christian and Starr’s Mill in a tri-match last Thursday.
One of Paige’s better matches this season came in a tough five-set loss to Greater Atlanta Christian where she finished with 20 kills and four blocks.
When the sisters aren’t on the court, they can often be seen on their driveway hitting the volleyball back and forth when they’re not doing homework. Sometimes, they’ll run plays together on the night before a big match.
What helps them play so well together is knowing where the other is at all times.
“Brooke and I are truly best friends, even though she may not want to admit it,” Paige said.
And Brooke says, “I’m going to be sad when Paige goes off to college next year.”