Floral Park Memorial High School’s prom Wednesday night capped a memorable senior year for identical twins Alice and Grace Brandt.
The siblings have played volleyball together on the same teams since fifth grade, a lengthy journey that culminated in winning a county championship with the girls varsity team last November.
“We’re really excited about the prom and graduating because we’ve been in this school for so long and moving on to do bigger things next year with each other is going to be really fun,” Alice said before the prom at the North Ritz Club in Syosset.
The prom festivities provided a chance for the duo to celebrate their childhood achievements before setting off for their next chapter playing volleyball together at Stockton University in New Jersey this fall.
The girls grew to love the sport after they signed up for a CYO league at 10 years old. As sophomores, they made the varsity squad at Floral Park, with Alice playing setter and Grace an outside hitter.
Their positions, jersey numbers and a headband that Grace wore were the only visible distinctions between them, as the twins are also nearly identical in their play on the volleyball court.
“They are very similar in their approach to the game and both very intense players and very focused on winning,” said Laurie Lorusso, the varsity team’s first-year coach.
Grace believes that being twins already served as a special bond growing up and helped them succeed in their sport.
“On the court, it’s very easy for us to know what the other is thinking and we can talk to each other without saying many words,” she said. “So it makes it harder for the other team to read what we’re going to do next.”
Before taking the county title this year, Floral Park fell to Lynbrook in the semifinals the prior two seasons.
Alice said she and her teammates tired of losing in the playoffs, knew they deserved better and had the experience and desire to win.
“And our new coach helped us push harder than we ever had before, and that’s how we overcame everything and beat the two top seeds,” she added.
As the twins turn their focus to Stockton, they anticipate their next volleyball coach will expect a lot from her players, having lost in the conference semifinals this year, breaking an eight-year streak of winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship.
“We’ll be working this summer to push each other so we can earn a little bit of playing time,” Grace said, “and so we can push our teammates to take back that title.”