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Look up and you’ll see double on Sickles’ volleyball court

Standing at 6-foot-4, twins Audra (5) and Elise (2) Curtin go up for a block for Sickles against Gaither. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Tuesday 11 September 2018 10.01

TAMPA — Not a day goes by when the question doesn't come up: "Do you play basketball?"

Audra and Elise Curtin, 6-foot-4 twins who are seniors at Sickles High, just shrug and say no.

"I get asked that question every day," Audra said.

"Every single day, not exaggerating," Elise said.

Not that they haven't given basketball a shot.

"Tried it in third grade," Elise said.

"No good," the twins said in unison.

But they are good at volleyball.

The Curtins are twin towers (sure they've heard that one before, too) up front for the Gryphons. Elise is an outside hitter while Audra is a middle hitter. Mostly, they are headaches for opponents trying to spike through their arms.

Sickles entered the week 4-0 with two district wins, including one over rival Steinbrenner. Elise has 29 kills while Audra has 27 kills and 13 blocks.

"They use their length really, really well," Sickles coach Gary Jones said. "They have very good court sense. They know where to put the ball. They know it's not always about swinging as hard as you can all the time. They are able to find spots on the court that are open.''

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While it's nice to have the Curtins, Sickles also has other (shorter) players who contribute. Sophomore Kylie Stroehlein leads the team with 41 kills. Junior Lyann Lopez is an all-around threat who has 57 digs. And junior setter Ava Weston has plenty of options on offense.

But it's the twins who get an opponent's attention.

They have been playing together since they discovered the sport as sixth-graders.

"We work together much better now," Elise said. "It just comes from experience.''

"And we play club together," Audra said. "We're just always together. We're practicing together and playing together."

Sickles’ Audra Curtin has quite the reach when she goes up to spike the ball. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)

Elise is 30 seconds older than Audra, but says she doesn't bring that up much. They both like history and English, and have four classes together this semester.

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Jones said he can tell the twins apart because Elise has a thinner face and Audra has a more aggressive jaw. And the twins believe their personalities are slightly different.

"She's a little louder than I am," Elise said.

"And I'm funnier," Audra added. "But we pretty much have the same personality, the same sense of humor.''

What does dad think?

"That's a tough one," Thomas Curtin said. "They have a little bit different sense of humor. Audra is maybe a little more laidback but snide, and Elise is more out and just straight up. They're not the same by any stretch of the imagination, but they are so fun to be around. And they love this volleyball, which is really what it's all about."

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While they have not decided on what they will do after graduation, they do want to play together in college.

"She's my best friend. Wait, that's really corny, isn't it?" Audra said.

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