Katie and Emma Beavin look onto the court at the Butler Bubble. Photo by Jada Gangazha.
MCKENNA SKATELL | SPORTS REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophomore twins Katie and Emma Beavin never imagined they would be playing tennis together at the Division I collegiate level, but reflecting on the years of hard work that got them to this point is rewarding.
“As a junior [in high school] you’re like ‘will I even get to college?’” Katie said. “But then you get [to college] and you see you can actually beat people [who are] way better than you … it’s surprising every day [but] you need to remember that you worked for it.”
While at Butler, Katie finished her freshman season with a 7-10 singles record and in the Big East, she clinched wins against Marquette and DePaul in the conference tournament quarterfinals. For much of the season, she was No. 5 in the lineup but eventually moved up to the No. 4 and No. 3 spots. As for Emma, she finished the season with a 6-5 singles record, winning matches against Cleveland State and Western Kentucky.
The Beavins’s love for tennis started when they were eight years old. They were inspired by their uncle, a former tennis player, and began taking lessons where they discovered a natural ability for hand-eye coordination.
What set the girls apart from other players was having each other to practice with outside of lessons and clinics — an opportunity that other kids just did not have. Emma reflected on how having her sister was a big part of what helped them both improve at the sport.
Emma and Katie Beavin after winning the doubles state championship as eighth graders. Photo courtesy of nohsathletics.com.
“Growing up having a built-in hitting partner definitely was a very big advantage for Katie and I,” Emma said. “Because I know every time other people wanted to hit outside regular practice, they would have to ask people … but really we could just go on the court whenever we wanted because we had each other.”
Continuing to play side-by-side, the Beavin sisters transitioned to competing at the high school level. When their junior year came, they started to look at colleges and wondered if they would stick together or part ways. Katie decided before Emma to come to Butler. Her decision was influenced by their current teammate Natalie Boesing and head coach Mat Iandolo.
“I know Natalie Boesing really well,” Katie said. “We trained together, and she highly recommended everyone on the team and the school environment. Also, Mat’s a really great, well-known coach. He’s coached a lot of bigger schools, so I knew of him.”
Unlike Katie, Emma toured many schools before making her decision. She said she wanted to play somewhere else to become independent from Katie.
“We played together for years,” Emma said. “I kind of wanted to branch out and see what it’d be like to play for a different school, but in the end, it was honestly Mat and Natalie [who] convinced me to stay because the program here is awesome.”
Katie and Emma said they would be lost without the other on this journey. They love being able to play side by side on the court and cheer each other on during the most exciting moments.
“Especially in the biggest conferences, it’s surreal with Emma next to me,” Katie said. “Somebody who you grew up playing with, seeing them beat somebody, that’s just amazing.”
For Iandolo, the experience of coaching twins is a first. He credits their dynamic relationship as a driving factor for not only the sisters but the team as a whole.
“They’re tremendously competitive, and they go out there and help set the tone for us in terms of their competitive attitude and drive,” Iandolo said. “So they’re a couple of kids that I would call ‘glue kids;’ they kind of bring people together with their personalities and their attitudes.”
Both on and off the court, Katie and Emma are each other’s number one supporters. When one of them is down, the other is right there to pick them up.
“[You’ve] got to talk to each other and try to hype each other up, especially when we see one of us getting negative,” Emma said.
Going forward, a goal that both of them share is the desire to win the Big East Conference. In order to accomplish that, Katie and Emma have to dig deep into how they must grow as individuals.
Whenever that journey reaches a roadblock though, they’ll always have their sister to lean on.