Katelyn Quigg and Melissa Paul Gardner (hugging in front) celebrate their matchup as coaches with family members following their game this past Tuesday in Cullman. Special to the Enquirer/Missy Grant

Hill sisters faceoff as opposing coaches for the first time

In the hours leading up to this past Tuesday night’s volleyball matchup between Cullman and New Hope, Nancy Hill couldn’t help but be a little stressed out. It was in anticipation of the first-ever matchup between Katelyn Hill Quigg and her younger sister Melissa Paul Hill Gardner as opposing coaches.

The Hill sisters, both Hartselle graduates, are in their first years as head coaches of the Lady Bearcats and Lady Indian programs.

Katelyn was an assistant coach at Hartselle before becoming the Cullman head coach. Melissa Paul was previously a head coach in Indiana, where she led her team to a 2019 state championship, before moving back to Alabama and taking the New Hope position.

Both coaches received a heartfelt message from their mom Nancy on the morning of the game. In her message, she told them how proud they were of both of them and that she would cheer for every girl on the floor and every point scored.

“No matter who wins and who loses, we are very proud of you and love you both very much,” she said. “Be nice and be classy!”

The Lady Bearcats and Katelyn came away with a 2-0 win over New Hope and Melissa Paul to end the evening on the court.

After the game, the two spoke about the matchup and what it meant.

“Sports has always been something that has brought my sister and me together and kept our relationships so strong,” Quigg said. “She is the one I call after a big win or a tough loss for words of encouragement, advice, or even to snag a drill to help correct our mistakes. So playing against each other in such an intense match was crazy.”

“Tonight was a personal one for me. I feel like I probably went into the game with a bigger chip on my shoulder,” Gardner said. “I have always been the competitive one because of growing up in her shadow. Always being known as “Katelyn’s little sister” made me compete to make my own name. But coaching against her tonight reminded me of how great she is and how I’m still grateful always to be known as “Katelyn’s little sister.”

In the end, it was a family affair as more than 30 members of their family gathered to watch this matchup between sisters.

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