College students can only wish to have a piece of home with them. While it is an inevitable part of growing up, leaving your family and traveling away from your hometown can be stressful and scary. Many students aren’t able to see their families until school breaks, but the Simon twins got lucky. At 20 years old, not only do the sophomores attend Boise State together, but they also both play for Boise State’s beach and indoor volleyball teams. Cassedi, a setter, and general business major and Maddie, a libero, and environmental studies major have a knack for supporting and pushing each other to do their best; a sisterly dynamic that has landed them in the heart of Boise State athletics.
The Simons grew up in the stands of their older sister’s volleyball tournaments, where they would watch her play and practice their own skills in between games. They began playing competitively at age 13, then added beach volleyball to their agendas in their junior year of high school.
“We are very competitive with each other on and off the court,” Maddie said. “We are always wanting each other to get better, so we are constantly nagging on one another.”
“At the end of the day when we go home, we always have each other’s back. We encourage each other but also compete with each other at the same time,” Cassedi added. “It’s awesome to have her on the team because I get to wake up and do what I love with my best friend.”
From a young age, the Simons enjoyed being on a plethora of sports teams together. Track, softball, soccer and basketball were among the things that kept them entertained during the volleyball off-season.
“There was one year where I didn’t play basketball and she did,” Maddie recalled. “It was really weird.”
Having participated in every activity together for as long as they can remember, it is no surprise that the Simon twins wanted to continue that tradition through college. After much consideration, the sisters decided playing for the same school would be ideal for them.
“We knew if we both got good offers from different places, we couldn’t give that up just because we wanted to be together,” said Cassedi. “But we wanted to play together because we do make each other better. I don’t think I’d be able to play volleyball without my twin.”
They starting offering themselves as a “package deal” and were delighted when Boise State asked them both to become Broncos. Their hometown of West Liberty, Iowa is over 1,000 miles away.
“We were very excited but nervous about how far it was,” said Maddie. “We didn’t even know where Idaho was on the map! But when I got here, it felt like a home away from home, and I felt comfortable.”
The sisters enjoyed Boise right away.
“When you come here, you have something to do every single day,” Cassedi said. “We are very adventurous, and we love going on drives or going up into the foothills. Stuff like that.”
While the sisters enjoy spending most of their time together, they still spend time apart to pursue their own passions and meet different people.
“We are attached, but we like our alone time,” said Maddie. “We have different friend groups and we hang out with other people, but we know that once we come home we can always talk to each other, do homework and hang out.”
The sisters were open about sharing their personal experiences of playing together.
“Seeing each other succeed. I like seeing her get better,” said Maddie. “Like if I pass it to her and she tips, like a little ‘twin play,’ I just feel so happy and excited about it. I like seeing her strive to be her best as a person and on the court.”
“Hands down, the support. I’m constantly going to have someone there for me,” Cassedi said. “All of the components that can add up and create stress throughout the season, if I’m down or I didn’t think I had a good practice or something, I always have her to back me up or cheer me up. Just having a piece of family here is really nice because we are very family-oriented.”