By Erika LeFlouria for VolleyballMag.com
There’s a logjam at the top of the ACC. While unbeaten No. 2 Pittsburgh and No. 3 Louisville lead at 4-0, Florida State (10-3, 3-1) and Miami (12-2, 3-1), who play in Miami on Wednesday night, and Syracuse are all tied at 3-1.
Florida State, which is coming off back-to-back home victories over NC State and North Carolina, will once again rely on leading attacker Morgan Chacon, a junior outside hitter from Crown Point, Indiana, which is located 50 miles south of Chicago.
Luckily for FSU, Chacon is barely the top kills leader with 117. The Seminoles have incredible offensive balance so far this season, because freshman outside Audrey Koening and junior middle Emma Clothier have 114 kills each and freshman middle Khori Louis has 113.
But those other three don’t have two sisters, the daughters of Brandi and Luis Chacon, also playing NCAA Division I volleyball. One of them, Alaina, is a senior on the Florida State beach team, while Savana is a sophomore defensive specialist at Purdue.
Alaina left home first, choosing FSU beach. She ranks 19th all-time in FSU in wins and made the VolleyballMag.com All-American second team last spring.
Volleyball in the Chacon family began when Alaina found a flyer about volleyball tryouts for her middle school team. As Alaina learned the game in the backyard with their mother, Morgan and Savana eventually joined in.
“We played a bunch of sports before and I feel like those sports kind of just laid our foundation of what we liked what we didn’t like,” Alaina said. “We all kind of followed suit, and then we just loved it. We loved playing with each other.”
Eventually the Chacon sisters stood out in their own way while playing indoor volleyball for Crown Point High School.
Alaina finished her senior year as a first-team all-stater and the defensive player of the year.
Morgan was a two-time Northwest Indiana Times Volleyball Player of the Year. In Alaina’s senior year, they lost in the state-championship match, Crown Point’s first appearance in the final.
Savana was named a two-time defensive player of the year.
Playing beach, however, was a little different in northwest Indiana. The sisters learned their skills on their indoor club’s sand court.
“I got better and better at beach,” Alaina said. “I dragged Morgan to every beach tournament because she was the only partner I could possibly play with. We just succeeded together. We had that natural chemistry.”
During Alaina’s junior year and Morgan’s sophomore year, they went to their first beach tournament in California, where they faced top talent in the area. FSU beach coach Brooke Niles was on hand recruiting and immediately saw potential in Alaina.
Morgan followed the next year, joining FSU’s indoor and beach volleyball teams.
“Having Alaina here, when she’s here supporting me, it’s completely different,” Morgan said. “I’m so lucky and I’m so grateful because I always like feel her presence when I’m playing.”
Then it was Savana’s turn. She also helped Crown Point get to a championship match.
“I think for me, I grew up watching them,” Savana said. “It’s not too big of an age difference, but I definitely had to wait my turn for the opportunities that they were getting, and it made me always have something to look forward to.”
Attending a Purdue volleyball camp convinced her to stay in Indiana. Savana, who played sparingly for the Boilermakers last spring, hasn’t been on the floor yet this fall. Purdue, ranked No. 6 nationally, goes to Illinois on Wednesday.
Morgan and Alaina get to see each other all the time, of course. Savana is close to home.
“Each time we get together, we try and be the most present we can be,” Savana said. “I just think every time that we get to see each other, time is so precious. When we spend time together, we just try and do things that we enjoy at that moment.”