BUENA VISTA, Va. — Alyssa and Sydney Sewell are a sister combo attending Southern Virginia University, excelling both academically and athletically. Alyssa, a four-time President's List honoree, is a member of the women's tennis team, while Sydney, who received fall and spring Provost's List honors her freshman year, competes on the women's lacrosse team. We took some time to sit down with the Granite Bay, California, natives to get a better look into what life is like as a student-athlete with a sibling at Southern Virginia.
What was the influence that each of you had for coming and staying at Southern Virginia University?
Alyssa: "I came to Southern Virginia after I fell in love with the campus and tennis team on my recruitment trip during my senior year of high school. The tennis girls were so loving and welcoming, and Deidra Dryden, who was the head coach then, was and is simply the best. I have stayed at Southern Virginia because of the amazing opportunities available, whether it is through sports, church, or on campus. Southern Virginia is unique in its ability to gather like-minded students who want to make a difference and help those around them."
Sydney: "My sister Alyssa convinced me to come out to Southern Virginia University to room with her and play lacrosse. Because we were roommates, we were able to spend so much time together and were able to have memorable moments every day. The two of us are always at each other's events, cheering on one another. It is great knowing that we are there for one another in every aspect of life and school."
Do the two of you have different training routines or do the two of you help each other improve in your sports?
Alyssa: "Sydney and I help one another improve physically and advance in each of our sports. Even though I don't play lacrosse, Sydney can tell me certain things to do, or I play defense against her as she works on her stick skills. We also help one another stay in shape by lifting weights together, going on runs, and help keep one another motivated outside of our prospective teams."
Sydney: "Although Alyssa and I both train very differently for our sports, there are some activities we can do together. We love to go running together and push each other to be stronger in the gym. I also hit with Alyssa sometimes, or I will teach her how to play defense so I can practice dodging on her. She is always there to keep me going and continue to get better."
How do you help each other academically?
Alyssa: "Sydney and I take a few of the same classes in which we work on homework together. If we aren't in the same class, Sydney and I are both good at checking in on each other and making sure either of us isn't too stressed. If either one of us is, we will work on assignments together and help one another organize ourselves to complete work on time."
Sydney: "Alyssa and I share some classes so we study together and help each other understand the course better. It's super helpful when tests come to have Alyssa quiz me and help teach me things I might have missed."
If you two were to switch sports today, who do you think would be better at one another's sport? And is there anything you two have been able to learn from each other's sports that have translated into your current athletic goals?
Alyssa: "I mean, I think I would be pretty good at lacrosse, but I am not too sure who would be better. Let's just say that Sydney is a baller so she'd probably be better. I think we both have learned how to work as a contributing team member in our sports. I think we also have seen how important hard work is, which relates to both of our sports.
Sydney: "Alyssa and I both played tennis together in high school, which was the best, but I still don't think I could ever beat her if we switched sports. She is incredible. What I have taken away from watching Alyssa play tennis is how to be patient and hit with good technique. It also helps me better appreciate the technique needed to be successful in lacrosse."
What message would you pass on to other student-athletes who are thinking about attending school with their siblings/family members?
Alyssa: "Sydney and I have been best friends since the day she was born. I wouldn't trade the experience I have had going to school and living with Sydney for anything. Family is forever, and they always have your back. The most fun part is going to Sydney's lacrosse games and screaming my head off as I cheer for her. It's a pretty awesome experience to cheer on your sibling in a collegiate sport they love and dominate in. Sydney has been such a blessing to me, so if any other sibling duos out there can have the opportunity to go to school together, I say you better do it!"
Sydney: "Going to college with your family members is the most fulfilling experience. I love being able to see my sister be successful and watch her talents continue to develop here at Southern Virginia. We are each other's biggest supporters and cheerleaders. I highly recommend going to school with a sibling."