Coach credits mother as excellent role model for girls
DEARBORN - Becoming a good volleyball player at the high school level is not easy. It takes discipline, commitment, and above all else, hours and hours of practice and hard work.
The Bazzi sisters Sara (center) and Sahar (bottom) grew up playing volleyball together, giving them great chemistry on the court with Dearborn High School.
Sahar and Sara Bazzi of Dearborn High School would know, having both achieved All-Region honors for volleyball as well as All-Conference honors for academics as juniors for the Pioneers this past season.
But in the end, it was the support of just one person who made all the difference: their mother Samar.
In the Bazzi family, academics come first, and Samar was worried that volleyball might interfere.
But older sister Mayssa Bazzi, who graduated in 2003 and went on to play volleyball at Schoolcraft and Wayne State, blazed the path that her other sisters would follow, making it much easier for the younger Bazzi sisters to convince their mom to let them play.
"We were very happy when we found out we could play, we couldn't wait to go to practices every day," said Sahar Bazzi.
"We started playing when we were very young, me and my sisters always played against each other in the backyard growing up."
Sara Bazzi said the volleyball sessions with her sisters helped prepare her and Sahar for the rigors of high school volleyball.
"(Mayssa) started us off at a young age, by the time we were old enough we were better than she was at that age that helped us get a lot better and helped us in our future and on varsity."
Sara Bazzi (third from right) and her sister Sahar (second from right) stand with their teammates before a volleyball match with Monroe. PHOTOS: Courtesy Bazzi family
Pioneers head coach Diane Phillips talked about how much she's enjoyed having the family play volleyball under her tutelage.
"It's easy to be a great coach when you've got kids like the Bazzis," she said.
"Without question, they both have tremendous work ethic and high values and morals. They are just incredible kids who work their butts off, never complain and just want to know how they can get better."
Sahar Bazzi enjoyed the player-coach relationship with Phillips as well.
"She's an awesome coach, she didn't let anybody slack off and our practices were really tough," she said.
On top of Phillips' always-challenging practices, Sahar and Sara Bazzi both took a philosophy-based ethics college class at Henry Ford afterwards some days before going home. But before their heads could hit their pillows at the end of the day, they had to do their homework first.
"It was very hard," said Sahar Bazzi. "I would come home very late sometimes and stay up until three or four in the morning and get like two hours of sleep to finish my homework."
Luckily, she and Sara had many of the same classes, so they helped each other along the way with their homework and studying.
Dearborn High School's volleyball team made it all the way to the final 16 in the state regional playoffs in volleyball this season, which ended on November 25th, and with both Bazzi sisters coming back to lead a strong team, they have a chance to go even farther in 2009.
Regardless of how well the team does, however, Phillips knows that the sisters will continue to set a positive example for their peers to follow."They're a couple of awesome kids, I look forward to having another season to coach them," she said.
"They work all the time towards being better people as well as athletes and students. The role modeling their mom has provided for them and older sisters is just something to behold. More families should follow the model this family has made for themselves; we would see more successful and great people out there if that were the case."