Sisters Brittany and Taylor Bejma play together for the first time this year. (Jordan Ewald/MJ)
Sisters Brittany and Taylor Bejma play together for the first time this year. (Jordan Ewald/MJ)
Sisters Brittany and Taylor Bejma played together for the first time this year. (Jordan Ewald/MJ)

BY JORDAN EWALD, STAFF WRITER

For many freshmen, the first year of college might cause them to feel nervous, unsure and definitely overwhelmed by the new people they are going to meet. When you are an athlete, it is all the same, if not even more intense.

For freshman Taylor Bejma, that was not the case. After graduating from Garden City High School in 2015, she decided to continue her education and volleyball career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, following in the footsteps of her sister Brittany.

Having been around the program for a few years, Taylor was familiar with many of the women on the team. “I was more comfortable being here and with the [team]. I knew what I was coming to,” she said.

I think it has helped Taylor’s transition and allowed her to be herself,” UM-Dearborn head coach Eric Stark said.

Prior to this season, Brittany, a fifth-year senior captain on the UM-Dearborn volleyball team, had the opportunity to help coach Taylor. Despite not being on the same team until college, the sport has always been something the two sisters have shared.

“My parents always pushed us to find something active to do. In the third grade a friend started playing volleyball and we did it too,” Brittany said.

“The only reason I started playing was because of Brittany. I followed in her footsteps to the collegiate level,” Taylor said.

Since then, both Brittany and Taylor have been committed to volleyball. The common love for the sport between the two has helped strengthen their personal relationship as well.  

“They have always played volleyball, though not on the same teams, and been able to find a common language and appreciation for each other’s accomplishments,” their father Bernard Bejma said.

According to their father, Bernard, the two have always had complimentary personalities.

“Brittany has always looked out for Taylor. She has always been there for advice or suggestions on a way ahead, whether it’s in relation to school, athletics or life. Conversely, Taylor’s unique view of the way things are has always been a source of comfort and inspiration for Brittany.”

Now on the same team, their relationship has grown even stronger.

“Playing together has brought that part of their lives even closer and brought into sharp relief an equality that each has held for the other within the game and in daily life,” Bernard said.

Besides sharing a last name, a love for volleyball and attending the same school, the two sisters are quite different. Brittany stands 5-foot-8 with dark brown hair, while Taylor has long blonde hair and is slightly shorter at 5-foot-2. Perhaps their differences are the key to their success. Bernard attributes both of his daughter’s’ successes partially to the fact that both girls push the other to be better but in their own unique way.

“They were both very good, but for different reasons. Where one was calculating and methodical, the other was aggressive and clever. They both have an extensive knowledge of the theory and practice, they just approach it from different angles. This dichotomy is what helps them make each other better,” Bernard said.

With only a week left, the memorable season will soon come to an end. Taylor will continue playing, but for Brittany this will be her last season of competitive volleyball. This season was meaningful for both girls.

“Taylor being on the team helped me to remember what it was like being a freshman and thankful for all the time I had to play,” Brittany said.

Looking ahead, the team will host Concordia University on Nov. 4 before they head to Lourdes University on Nov. 7 for a WHAC Crossover to complete the 2015 season.

“Playing with my sister my last year was an incredible experience. I’m sad that it’s over but I am so thankful for the opportunities this program has provided me with over the years,” Brittany said.