Canyon Crest Academy volleyball coach Ariel Haas admits it was hard not to notice how indistinguishable Laura and Megan Plumb were when the twin sisters first when out for the team as freshmen three years ago.
It was even harder not to notice that initially, neither was particularly impressive.
"I remember in the very beginning in camp before our tryouts there were these two really scrawny twins that basically looked uncoordinated and unskilled," Haas said.
"My first thought was they're never going to make the varsity. They're never going to make it."
Within a year, the Plumb sisters didn't just "make it," they were making an impact, leading the upstart Ravens to playoffs in their inaugural season.
Both are now seniors who are being recruited by four-year colleges and project to play at Div. II schools next year.
"It's definitely been a surprise," Haas said.
Megan Plumb is an undersized 5-foot-10 middle blocker whose power and athleticism makes up for her lack of height. Laura Plumb, 5-9, who hits left-handed and plays right side and is the more finesse-oriented of the two.
Both are key leaders, with Megan Plumb more vocal, and Laura Plumb leading more by example.
Their leadership has helped guide the Ravens to deep playoff runs each of the last two years.
The Ravens reached the San Diego Section Div. IV playoffs in the program's 2006 varsity inaugural, and then the Div. III semifinals last season.
The Ravens are aiming for another deep playoff run. They return 10 seniors on a talented team that features one of the area's most coveted collegiate prospects, sophomore standout middle blocker Samantha Cash, who is 6-2.
Their improbable journey to elite-level volleyball didn't start until the Plumb twins made their foray into organized volleyball in eighth grade attending different San Diego middle schools, Laura Plumb at Rock Academy, and Megan Plumb at Horizon.
"We had only a faint idea of what was going to be happening when we went into high school," Megan Plumb said. "We weren't really expecting much. We were just trying out for the volleyball team hoping we would make it."
They made it on the junior varsity B team that played freshmen teams.
The Plumbs developed quickly that year under coach Marisa Tirri, who's now a CCA assistant coach, and made the varsity team their sophomore year.
"They very quickly found their way onto the court," Haas said. "Within a year or two they developed into really fine players."
Their development figured prominently in the emergence of the program. And as relative newcomers to the sport, the Plumbs haven't lost the enthusiasm for a game many do playing year-round at an early age.
"To make CIF was amazing," Laura Plumb said. "I didn't even know what CIF was my freshman year."
Their zest reflects the attitude of a program that's relished its role as overachieving underdogs, excelling in an intensely competitive environment at a school known more for arts than sports.
"I think we're more excited to be in the playoffs," Megan Plumb said. "I think they're more nervous about playing a team that's come so far that didn't even get started until three or four years ago."