machado twins

North Oconee volleyball’s No. 11 and No. 22 appear the same on the court.

Young yet composed. Quiet yet energetic. Twins Sophia and Isabella Machado are only sophomores but have already made a memorable impact on the program.

“They bring the energy. They bring a calmness on the team as well,” said head coach Jordan Childs.

Through the Sept. 16 game against Jefferson, the twins have both amassed 26 aces on the season. Isabella, a setter, added 137 assists, 77 digs and 11 kills, while Sophia, an outside hitter and defensive specialist, totaled 99 digs and 33 kills.

Their contributions have led the Lady Titans to an 8-11 record on the season entering play this week. With four region matches left in the season, the Machado sisters have an opportunity to help their team secure a spot in the Class AAAA state playoff tournament.

The twins began playing volleyball when they were in sixth grade at a camp at nearby Prince Avenue Christian. While they have since found a love for the sport, it did not happen immediately.

“We honestly did not want to play. At all,” Sophia Machado said.

Through continuous practice, and a little motivation from their mother, the hatred turned to passion and, four years later, they see the hard work paying off at North Oconee. The sisters both hope to play in college.

Under Childs, a first-year coach at North Oconee, a new culture has begun. The sisters feel a positive difference in the team.

“I love the new change,” Sophia Machado said. “We’re getting to run more plays and stuff. It’s a faster pace. We started off summer practices and everything and it really changed the whole mood and it was a good change.”

As they have grown in confidence and consistency as players, Childs has seen the twins’ personalities grow since she joined the program in the summer.

“I've seen them become more of themselves,” Childs said. “Whenever I first met them they were very quiet and a little more to themselves, but they’ve really come out of their shells. They’re great teammates to each other as well as the rest of the team.”

As their season nears an end, the Lady Titans are still showing their dedication to being a great team. A three-set win over a 12-win George Walton Academy team on Sept. 14 was the spark that North Oconee needed to finish the rest of the season strong.

Two nights later, on senior night, the Lady Titans fought back to a three-set win over region opponent East Hall but fell in a close three sets to Jefferson.

Despite the loss, it was a turning point for the team.

“I think we played really smart,” Isabella Machado said. “We played really well. We didn’t just swing at the ball, we actually knew where to place it because we watched film before. We talked to everyone. Back row talked to us, front row talked to us, everyone was talking and putting in input.”

Sophia Machado attributes her team’s big wins, and even close losses, to the energy the team brings into each match.

The Lady Titans are able to intimidate opponents, using that to their advantage to play bigger and stronger.

“It starts from the top down,” Childs said. “The coaching staff has a lot of energy, and I think they kind of feed off that. They also feed off each other. The girls mesh very well. They have energy together, off the court as well as on the court, so they really mesh well together and when one person is energetic, they kind of all jump in and feed off each other.”

With two full years left at North Oconee, Sophia and Isabella hope to inspire their teammates as they grow personally and on the court.

“We’re building a family,” Sophia Machado said.

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