Nazareth’s Emily Milligan, Benet’s Sheila Doyle share volleyball roots
Updated: October 2, 2012 11:34AM
LA GRANGE PARK — They might go to different schools, but neighbors Sheila Doyle and Emily Milligan still find time to go out to lunch together.
Doyle and Milligan are among the Chicago area’s best liberos. The seniors are each headed to Division I programs after their scheduled graduation in June. Doyle has verbally committed to North Carolina and Milligan is going to North Dakota State.
Doyle starts for undefeated and defending Class 4A state champion Benet, while Milligan starts for East Suburban Catholic rival Nazareth.
They both grew up across the street from each other, only a few houses down, on the 400 block of Spring Avenue in La Grange Park.
There is only one day during the season when the childhood friends become rivals. On Sept. 18, Benet beat Nazareth 25-22, 25-12.
“I grew up right down the street,” Doyle said. “I’ve been playing with Emily forever. It’s tough, but this is fun. “
Before big matches, Doyle and Milligan usually talk or text one another. They follow each other’s teams during the season. Doyle’s Redwings were coming off one of their biggest wins of the season by beating the Sun-Times’ top-ranked Marist Sept. 15 in the championship match of the Wheaton Classic at Wheaton Warrenville South.
Before that match, both Doyle and Milligan forgot to text each other. The fun part was having several of their family and friends attend the game at Nazareth. For once, Doyle did not have to take the team bus back to school.
“It’s incredible (playing against each other),” Milligan said. “She’s on my club team. We’re best friends with each other, but now we get to go against each other. It’s fun.”
Doyle and Milligan are able to see each other more outside of the season. The two friends play on the same club team in the spring, Western Springs-based 1st Alliance 17 Silver, which finished 10th in the open division in June at the AAU Junior Olympics in Orlando, Fla.
During the club season, Milligan plays libero and Doyle is the team’s defensive specialist.
Doyle and Milligan played on the same volleyball team together at St. Francis Xavier all the way through eighth grade. Family ties led them to different destinations beyond Spring Avenue.
Doyle is the fourth of five children of Mike and Mary to attend Benet. Her older siblings, Mick, Colin, Annie and Bridget, have graduated. A younger sister, Kathleen, remains at Benet.
Milligan’s mother, Maureen, graduated from Nazareth and now Emily is the last of three siblings to attend after Michael and Jen. Jen won an AAU national title for 1st Alliance and is a junior libero-defensive specialist at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.
Doyle is a late starter to club volleyball, beginning as a sophomore. She was named the MVP at the Benet Invitational earlier this season and was selected among the nation’s Defense Dandies by prepvolleyball.com.
“We have both become so much better,” Doyle said.