By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the state volleyball playoffs get underway next week, one of the hottest teams in the state is led by quite the duo: a mother-daughter combo.

Ask any athlete who’s played for their parent and any parent who’s coached their kid, and they’ll tell you there’s good and bad about that.

“Definitely the best part about playing for my mom is that I get my biggest support system with me every single day. When we do stuff, we do it together. So when I accomplish something really big… it’s like my mom helped me get there,” said Sophia Anderson, a New Prague senior. “It’s something that we can celebrate together. And we even get to go home and still celebrate.”

Her mom agrees.

“Seeing her learn a new skill, or make a great play — and it’s just so different being on the floor compared to being up in the stands. That’s probably one of the most special things,” Angie said of her daughter.

But there are a few things both the player and parent find bothersome.

“The worst thing is that everyone gets mad at their coach, right? And then when I’m mad at her, I still gotta eat dinner at the same table as her, right?” Sophia said.

“I think we can turn a dinner about spaghetti into a conversation about volleyball, which probably drives my husband and her brother crazy,” Angie said.

Sophia is one of the state’s best players, leading all of Class 3A in kills by a wide margin.

“She’s constantly evaluating,” Angie said. “Like every week, every day, ‘Oh, I need to get better at this, or you know what, I’m going to write this down. This is one of my goals, oh, I got it — now I gotta set a new one.'”

Angie played at New Prague herself then went on to play at the University of North Dakota. She returned to her high school and got into coaching.

“I’ve just always loved it,” Angie said. “There’s a special emotion that rushes through my veins when I walk in the gym.”

She’s passed the love — and the talent — onto Sophia, who says she wouldn’t be the same player if she had a different coach.

“I think that I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities that many people don’t get growing up,” Sophia said. “I mean, I’ve been in this gym since I was in third grade — every single day after school.”

Over all those years together, what’s the biggest thing Angie has tried to impart?

“I think just love the game,” Angie said. “She spends a lot of time even volunteering with our fifth and sixth grade league, with our K-4 camps. I don’t think she’s missed a beat being in the gym with those kids. ”

It sounds like we might have a future coach on our hands.

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