NORMAL, Ill. — Isabel Schaefbauer and Alayna Crabtree have know each other since well before they were volleyball stars at U-High.
“We have known each since kindergarten,” Schaefbauer admitted. “Yes, kindergarten.”
They have been friends ever since. The girls are bonded by the love of sports and by being daughters of former athletes.
Alayna’s parents, Bryan and Jenna, played basketball at Illinois Wesleyan. Isabel’s mom Nicole played volleyball at Notre Dame while her father Skipp was a basketball player at Illinois State.
“I always went to the Wesleyan basketball games when I was younger,” said Alayna Crabtree. “Hearing (praise about her parents) from people inspired me to try my best and live up to the players my parents were.”
Bryan Crabtree led IWU to a Division III national championship in 1997. Skipp Schaefauer was a starting guard on Illinois State’s NCAA Tournament teams of 1997 and 1998.
“It’s a cool experience. Having people say ‘Oh, I watched your dad play basketball,” Isabel Schaefbauer said. “Now they are watching me and Alayna.”
The seniors will play college volleyball next year. Crabtree will signs with Boston College, Schaefbauer with Winthrop.
Each admits having parents who played college sports was a big plus during the recruiting process.
“It helped me a lot with emails, phone calls, what to say to coaches,” Crabtree said.
“Having their experiences, stuff they wish they would have done better. That led me on my path.”
And now the two hope they can lead U-High down the path to a state volleyball championship. Something exciting for them and their parents.