V-ball club members bond through sport

The connection between best friends Amelia Contreras and Rachel Cousino was created before their birth.

Their mothers developed a friendship a little after they became pregnant.

“It was easy for them to become friends because we were,” Amelia’s mother, Chris Contreras said. “They’ve always been a part of each other’s lives.”

That was the reason they played volleyball together from the 4th grade on.

Rachel’s older sister played, than Rachel and Amelia followed suit.

“I’ve been best friends with her forever, so it was like whatever she did, I did, and whatever I did, she did,” Amelia said.

Rachel and Amelia spent their time this winter playing for the MCCC volleyball club.

Rachel and Amelia are the most animated when they talk about why they love volleyball.

Rachel said “I like how fast-paced it is and how you have to be able to anticipate where the ball is going to go.  You can’t stand still; you always have to be watching and ready for anything to happen.”

Amelia said most of the same.

“You’re always moving, constantly moving, constantly thinking about where they’re going to place the ball, or thinking there’s an open spot there, there probably going to tip there,” Amelia said.

“On offense you’re always thinking about the open spots, you’re not just concentrating on the ball,” Rachel said.

In the ten years they have played volleyball, Rachel and Amelia agree they have formed a great chemistry on the court.

“I can always tell when she is going to set me or where she is going to go,” Rachel said.

“I know I can trust putting the ball in her hands,” Amelia said.

Amelia and Rachel agreed one of their favorite moments in their volleyball career was in their sophomore year in high school, when playing for the Eastern Academy.  They pulled off an upset over the M Juniors.

“It was one of the best feelings ever,” Amelia said. “Even the parents were talking crap about our team.”

While they had many reasons to celebrate throughout their career, they also had games they could learn from.

When they played for Borderline, they had a 24-7 lead and lost the match.

“Even our own parents were mad at us and couldn’t even look at us,” Amelia said.

For most of their volleyball careers, they played on a traveling team. It was expensive for their parents, but they did not flinch.

“She loved it, so it was worth everything,” Lori Cousino said.

“If you can afford to do it all, you should always support your kids in whatever they really like to do,” Chris Contreras said.

In the 11th grade Amelia and Rachel’s friendship could have been fractured.  Rachel played on Bedford’s Junior Varsity, but Amelia did not make the team, but she showed little animosity.

“She got over it a heck of a lot sooner then we did as far as letting things go,” Chris Contreras said.  Adding that Amelia told her, “We’ll always be friends, it doesn’t matter.”

Amelia and Rachel’s friendship goes beyond the volleyball court.  

They both enjoy listening to country music and went to a three-day concert last year that featured Keith Urban and Justin Moore among others.

From kindergarten through college, they’ve had a class together every year except second grade.

Rachel’s Mother, Lori Cousino, describes them as “silly and fun.” And they don’t care what other people think of them.

“They have no problem wearing a spice girl t-shirt at 20 years old,” Lori Cousino said.

They both want to work in the medical field.  Rachel wants to be a nurse and Amelia wants to be an ultrasound sonographer.

“I just like the idea of helping people even when I was young I wanted to work with little kids,” Rachel said.

“I like the idea of showing people baby pictures, being able to see it, the excitement of people when they get an ultrasound,” Amelia said.

The last two years of Rachel and Amelia’s volleyball careers have been interesting.

Last year they were attending Oakland University and struggled to find a club team to play on, but they still managed to play intramural volleyball.

They transferred to Monroe County Community College for financial reasons and because Oakland did not have programs that suited the careers they wanted to pursue.

MCCC hired Scott Barbe as the volleyball club coach about the same time Amelia and Rachel arrived at MCCC, giving them an avenue to continue playing volleyball.

They both said they like Barbe as a coach, but struggled being cohesive as a team.  They said they were used to being with players in high school, who they had formed a bond with.

While Amelia and Rachel are unsure what college they will attend next year, Barbe said he would welcome them back.

“There both are very, very smart and understand the game,” Barbe said “They both have very positive personalities.”


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