Iacobelli twins share unique bond on and off court

Shayne Nissen and Shayne Nissen

Identical twins Paulina and Victoria Iacobelli have played volleyball together their entire lives. Unfortunately, their careers are coming to a head as Falcons. 

Seniors at BGSU, both play the role of defensive specialists for the Falcons and have played on the same volleyball teams since the age of eight, with the exception of two years in high school where they played on different club teams. 

Through it all, the twins have enjoyed each other’s presence on the court. 

“It’s fun, you always have a familiar face. You always have a little piece of familiarity is always with you. We are very competitive with each other so it helps us build our competitiveness within the team,” Paulina said.  

Playing at Novi High School in Novi, Michigan, the twins led their school to four straight league titles from 2012 to 2015 posting a 55-2 record. In their senior seasons they helped lead the school to a Michigan Class A State Championship as well. 

When it came time to make the decision as to where they would continue their careers, it wasn’t always set in stone that the two would go to the same college. But after a while it became clear that BGSU was the best choice for both of them. 

“We weren’t always planning on going together, there were some schools that we were looking at that were different and some that were together. We talk to each other into everything so just going through the decision process, we just kind of made the decision together to come here,” Paulina said. 

Playing on different club teams for two years in high school helped them experience something they never had before. They enjoyed the unfamiliarity, but it helped them to further decide whether they wanted to move forward together or not. 

“I think at the time playing on different teams was odd for us, but I think we both really liked that experience. In the grand scheme of things I think it gave us a sense of individuality within volleyball, like having our own teammates and our own coaches and to be able to build our skills separately. I think through that experience we kind of knew that we were good either way,” Victoria said. 

Family factors in too, as having to follow volleyball careers at two different schools can be difficult. 

“It made it easier for our family too obviously, we are about an hour or two away from our hometown so when you go through those decisions it was just a lot easier to decide as one,” Victoria said. 

In the end, the twins felt lucky that they were able to share the court together and will miss a lot of things about playing with each other. What they will miss the most however, is the unfiltered criticism they gave each other that couldn’t be replicated with anyone else. 

“I’m going to miss having that person that you can say whatever you want without any sort of filter. Whether it’s good whether it’s bad you can’t even talk to your best friend like that. So just being able to say whatever you want without thinking about it. We are lucky that we get that because who else gets that opportunity on a daily basis,” Paulina said.

The twins have had plenty of fun playing with each other over the years and there are plenty of moments still to be had with their entire senior year in front of them, but when reflecting on their decision to come to BGSU, they know that they made the right one.