Strong relationship sets up sisters for success


Jada Herbert

Sophomore Jada Herbert (left), freshman Nyah Herbert (middle) and senior Kara Herbert (right) spent their one and only volleyball season together this year.

She watches the ball, waiting for the right moment to hit. Her parents and sisters are in the stands, watching but cheering her on. She spikes the ball into the opponent’s court. Her sisters from the stands next to their parents, dressed in head-to-toe purple, her mom even in purple eyeshadow.

Senior Kara Herbert, sophomore Jada Herbert and freshman Nyah Herbert spent their one and only volleyball season together this year at Sequoia.    

“They’re family in every sense of the word,” Woropay said. “They support each other and look out for each other.”

“Playing with your sisters anytime is really cool. no one really knows how hard it is,” Nyah said. “It’s good to know that there’s people in your family that understand it’s not easy.”

The Herberts have been playing volleyball since each of them were in fourth grade. Kara started playing first when she was in fourth grade, and Jada and Nyah followed in her footsteps. Jada and Kara played varsity this year, while Nyah played junior varsity.

“Them being sisters really brings the team together. It adds another element of sportsmanship. Their bond makes everyone else want to bond with them,” said sophomore Katie Uthman, friend and teammate of the three Herberts.

Neither the Herbert’s parents nor the three sisters older siblings have played volleyball in the past, so the sisters rely on each other to provide feedback.

“Jada and Kara are a lot harder on each other than they are on the others on the team,” Varsity coach Dustyn Woropay said. “They’re each other’s harshest critics.”

Over the years, their parents have become more involved in the world of volleyball, attending the sisters’ games as well as games at Stanford University. Now, they actively cheer during their daughters’ volleyball games. The Herberts’ parents also dress up in matching purple outfits, complete with Sequoia gear.

“You always hear Ms. Herbert and Mr. Herbert in the stands,” Uthman said. “They treat everyone on the team like they’re their daughters, too.”

Their parents also had to coordinate driving schedules in the past, as the Herberts played club volleyball in different locations all around the peninsula. Kara, Jada and Nyah only played on the same club team for one year.

Years of practice have paid off, setting them up to play for Sequoia’s team, where last year Jada and Kara joined for the first time on the varsity team. While their skills on the court are important, so is their relationship with each other.

“[Kara and I] are not very shy [about] telling Nyah what she needs to work on,” Jada said. “It’s a lot easier to hear it from her sisters than from a coach or a parent.”

The Herberts’ relationship, at least with volleyball, focuses on encouragement and advice. Nyah feels heavily influenced by her sisters, inspired by the success and support.

“[Advice] helps [Nyah] be a better player. I think she respects what we have to say because we’ve been playing for so long. She knows we only want the best for her,” Kara said.

Nyah feels comforted knowing members of her family understand the difficulty of the sport and the need for practice.     

“When they see I’m getting down on myself, they say, ‘hey, it’s alright, Nyah, you got this, keep it up,’” Nyah said. “It may not work at the time, but when I look back on it, it really helps a lot.”

The Herberts constantly encourage each other, in the form of constructive criticism or words of reassurance.  

“They’re family in every sense of the word,” Woropay said. “They support each other and look out for each other.”