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Helfricks fighting for Rockets' cause

October 01, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Ashleigh and Erica Helfrick have had more than 15 years to adjust to life in the same family.

Now they're adjusting to life on the same volleyball court, and so far, the result has been big dividends for the No. 5 Rockets.

Heading into Thursday night's battle with No. 6 Greencastle-Antrim - a game which both sisters played a pivotal role in James Buchanan's 25-15, 15-25, 25-9, 23-25, 15-13 victory - Erica led the area with 7.91 assists per game and Ashleigh, a 2003 Herald-Mail All-Area First-Team selection who's used to being in the spotlight, was third in the area with 3.09 kills per game.

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"This is the first time we've played together on the same team," Ashleigh said. "We have sibling spats, but for the most part we get along on the court."

"It's definitely different from last year playing JV," Erica said. "I feel a lot more responsibility and pressure, but I enjoy taking the role."

The roles that Ashleigh, a senior hitter, and Erica, a junior setter, play are vastly different.

Erica runs the show, setting up her teammates at the net.

The Rockets look to Ashleigh for leadership - and more than a few hard spikes along the way.

"I can help her out as far as where I want the ball, but most of the time we leave each other alone. She does her job. I do mine," Ashleigh said. "I can't really help her because I don't know how to set like she does."

"We usually are pretty close, but we're closer on the court," Erica said. "Unless we fight. Then we don't talk to each other for days."

"Erica's in control of the offense, and she gets really nervous when she has to go out to her sister," Rockets coach Erica Piper said. "Sometimes I have to remind her to get it out to her sister. Ashleigh gets upset sometimes when the sets aren't good. ... On the court, they are teammates. They're sisters off the court, teammates on the court. That keeps the arguments down some, because they wouldn't argue on the court if they were just teammates."

With the victory over Greencastle, James Buchanan is in line for a share of the Mid-Penn Capital title.

The Helfricks are a large reason why.

"It feels nice to be sharing this experience," Ashleigh said. "Both of us being a big part of the team makes this a little more special.

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