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Santa Fe Christian volleyball team features sister act on defense

The Tastad sisters.
The Tastad sisters.
Karen Billing
Santa Fe Christian volleyball team sisters and teammates Taryn and Camryn Tastad. Photo by Karen Billing
Santa Fe Christian volleyball team sisters and teammates Taryn and Camryn Tastad. Photo by Karen Billing

A year apart and almost the same height, and both defensive-minded volleyball players for Santa Fe Christian, Taryn and Camryn Tastad have often been mistaken for twins.

They’ve been called Caren and Tamryn and all matter of names in between, but the close, complementary sister duo takes the mix-ups as flattery, as they each couldn’t be prouder of the other.

The pair of liberos had never played on the same team before last year, when Camryn was the only freshman to make the varsity squad.

Since they both played the same position, it definitely made for a challenging experience.

“I was always loving and supporting her, but also, I was working against her,” said Taryn, a 17-year-old senior. “Halfway through the season, we came to support each other no matter what and became each other’s No. 1 fan. It was a unique situation, and it’s helped our relationship grow.”

Both girls have played for the WAVE Volleyball Club for seven years under the direction of Brennan Dean, also the head coach at Torrey Pines High School.

With WAVE, they have competed in the Junior National Championships in Dallas, Columbus, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and have won silver medals in the Nationals. They have won Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) Qualifiers and have traveled to many qualifiers in Reno, Spokane, Minneapolis, Dallas and more.

“Taryn and Camryn have been longtime WAVE athletes and have been so much fun to watch grow over the years. They are constantly working hard and inspiring their teammates to do the same with their high energy and leadership on the court,” said Dean. “It’s great to have a set of siblings in our club that motivate each other to be the best they can be and compete at the highest level all the time. They are so much fun to coach, and it is a pleasure having them as part of our program.”

Taryn has been recognized as a UT Scholar Athlete for the past three years, maintaining a 4.5 GPA while holding a class schedule of five AP classes this year. She is the president of Santa Fe Christian Business Leaders Club and the marketing manager for a technology start- up company.

Taryn was a two-sport athlete her freshman and sophomore year, playing volleyball and soccer. But she decided to focus solely on volleyball.

“I feel volleyball is more a team sport; you can’t win a volleyball game with just one good player on the team,” Taryn said.

She has played on the varsity team for three years and is this season’s team captain, leading the team in digs.

Taryn is still weighing her options for college, but she knows for sure she would like to continue playing volleyball at the next level.

Camryn, a 16-year-old sophomore, has also been recognized as a UT Scholar and maintains a high GPA. Her WAVE volleyball team took first place in the SCVA in 2015 and she was recognized as the High School Fall Classic All Tournament player two years in a row in 2014 and 2015.

Her dream is to play college volleyball in the Pac-12.

This year the sister act roams the back row together, digging and passing and making sure nothing hits the floor.

“I think she’s the most hardworking teammate I’ve ever had,” said Camryn of her sister. “There’s not a play that she doesn’t go all-out, and I admire that about her.”

Before every game, they do a sisterly chest bump and are constantly cheering for each other on the court.

If she struggles, “The only person I hear is Camryn on the sidelines. I hear her words of encouragement and get pumped right back up,” Taryn said.

Playoffs begin next week in the Coastal League and the duo has high hopes for the Eagles going far. They will play for WAVE when the season concludes and are soaking up these last few games on the court together.

“Camryn is the most driven and competitive player I’ve played with. She has a love for the game and it shows in how dedicated she is to the sport — it’s overwhelming,” Taryn said of her sister. “Playing together is an experience — not something many sisters get to have — and I’ll never forget it.”