As Chloe Gilley was serving Columbus East back from a 24-19 deficit to a 26-24 first-set win in Saturday night’s volleyball sectional championship at Martinsville, the teammate positioned next to her on the court took note.
“I’m very proud of Chloe,” said her sister, senior libero Cadence Gilley. “It’s a proud sister moment, a proud teammate moment.”
Cadence is in her fourth year on the Olympians varsity squad. Chloe, a sophomore, is in her first year as a full-time varsity player.
Last week, they helped lead Class 4A No. 10 East to the sectional title, culminating with a three-set win against the host Artesians in the final.
“It’s awesome,” Chloe said. “I never thought I’d be able to play with her, but she’s my biggest supporter, and I love playing with her.”
Cadence enjoys playing alongside Chloe, as well. Cadence has committed to play volleyball at Indiana State, where their older brother Cole is a baseball player.
“It’s definitely a special moment,” Cadence said. “You don’t usually get to play with your siblings, and it’s definitely been memorable and exciting, and I’m happy I’ve got the opportunity to play with her and share these moments with her.”
Both Gilleys play in the back row. Cadence is the libero, and Chloe is a defensive specialist. Chloe moved into the starting lineup for some games late in the season, but sometimes comes off the bench, depending on matchups.
Chloe has noticed a huge difference after playing mostly at the JV level last season.
“It’s a whole ‘nother level,” Chloe said. “There’s a lot more energy. There’s a lot more motivation on varsity than there is JV. It’s nerve racking, but I just have to do my job.”
“I trust her,” Cadence added. “I know what kind of volleyball player she is. I’ve been watching her growing up, and I’m just so proud of how far she’s come and her improvement throughout this year.”
Cadence and Chloe rank first and second on the team in aces with 67 and 39, respectively. Cadence is tops with 286 digs, while Chloe is fourth on the team with 141 digs.
“Cadence has been spectacular for us,” East coach Ellyn McIntosh said. “This year and most of last year, she’s been our libero, but before that, she was a setter, so she kind of had a big role-switch there. But she’s just done a lot for our program, and then Chloe stepping up big this year and being one of our main DSs back there. Both of them serve aggressively, and that’s what we like to see.”
The Gilleys, along with their teammates, will try to bring the Olympians their first regional title since 2016 on Saturday at Bloomington North. East (27-4) plays Center Grove (22-9) in the semifinals at around 1 p.m. The winner will play the winner of the first semifinal between Castle (29-2) and Floyd Central (22-11) in the regional final at 7 p.m.
If East wins the regional, it likely would play its semistate match on its home floor on Oct. 30.
“I think we have a very good chance to make a state run,” Chloe said.
“We’ve got this,” Cadence said. “We all know it, and we all feel it and we’re all confident and we know we can do it and go far.”