As competition gears up in collegiate men’s volleyball, so too does the rivalry among the Enriques brothers.
Evan is a senior libero at Stanford. Emmett is a junior libero at Cal State Northridge after spending the last two seasons at Cal Baptist, which cut its program in May. Addison is a freshman libero at Concordia-Irvine and Avery is a freshman libero at Grand Canyon.
The quartet will meet up in 10 matches in 2018.
Evan’s Stanford squad has already faced Emmett’s Cal State Northridge squad twice, with the Matadors winning both, giving the younger brother his first collegiate wins over the older, who previously boasted a 4-0 lead in the series (3-0, 3-2 in 2017; 3-0, 3-0 in 2016 when Emmett was at Cal Baptist).
Addison’s Concordia-Irvine squad took on Emmett’s Northridge team and handed the Matadors their first loss.
The remaining seven matches of the Enriques family faceoffs start Thursday when Stanford plays host to Concordia.
Stanford: vs. Northridge (1/17, 2/10); vs. Grand Canyon (2/17, 3/29); vs. Concordia (2/15, 3/31)
Northridge: vs. Stanford (1/17, 2/10); vs. Concordia (1/19, 2/24)
Grand Canyon: vs. Stanford (2/17, 3/29); vs. Concordia (2/22, 3/23)
Concordia: vs. Northridge (1/19, 2/24), vs. Stanford (2/15, 3/31); vs. Grand Canyon (2/22, 3/23)
“I always tell my parents that they should go cheer for the other brother, but they always say no, we are here to cheer for both of you evenly,” Evan said. “I am just happy that my parents get to come watch us. Maybe for my brothers it is I want to take him down or whatnot, but for me, it is that I am more happy that is brings us together and I get to see my family. If I win, if I lose, it will be the same for me. I would like to win, but it is not like I am going to run it down my brothers’ throats if we beat them. They might, actually, they probably will.”
Emmett says while just playing each other is fun, he is still ready to win.
“First off, I am super excited to get to play them,” Emmett said. “We have a really big fan base, a lot of family that comes out and wants to support us and a lot of people where we are from watch online, so that is really cool. Evan says he is just happy to play us, but he wants to win. All of us are competitive. If we were to win, I am definitely hanging it over his head.”
Addison says that gloating is definitely in Emmett’s nature and will make beating him all the more sweet.
“That is something that he would do,” Addison said. “I don’t think he means shoving it in our fans, he just likes to show it off. I am definitely going to give to Emmett if we beat him, but I don’t think winning or losing are my priorities as long as I do my best and as long as my team does its best.
“It will be interesting though. We played Avery in a preseason tournament at USC and when we played our teammates were chanting our names and yelling at us whenever the ball came to us or we made a dig. It was super funny and super interesting.”
Avery is ready for anything.
“Everything is basically a competition between us, so there is definitely some trash talk, but I am looking forward to seeing them and playing them,” he said. “There are bragging rights of course, but I am just lucky I get to see them and play them. Hopefully things come out better for me, but it will be interesting and fun. Emmett is definitely the biggest instigator of all of us. I would love it and would definitely brag if I won, but seeing them is good too.
“(As for scouting them, I would just say) they are good, so maybe just stay away from them as much as you can, but if you have to go to them, they make mistakes, so hopefully we can push their mistakes. They wouldn’t like if I roasted them.”
All in the Family
The brothers come to the sport naturally. Their mother, Julie, played collegiately at Oregon State and still owns the school record for aces per set (0.344) and ranks among the Beavers’ Top 10 in career kills (4th, 1554), kills per set (5th, 3.66), points per set (5th, 4.36), aces (3rd, 146), digs (8th, 1,182) and digs per set (9th, 2.78).
Their father, Guy, has been a coach for more than 30 years, including a four-year stint at Oregon State (1987-90) where he earned Co-Pac 10 and West Regional Coach of the Year honors. He has spent the last 13 as the boys’ coach at Kamehameha High School, where sons Evan, Emmett, Addison and Avery all starred.
Their half-brother Cory also carried the volleyball banner, playing at Hawaii.
“We grew up running around the gym, because my dad was a coach before we were born,” Evan said. “All four of us grew up in his high school boys’ gym. He would bring us to practice and we would run around the gym, so from an early age, we kind of got hooked on it. There was never any pressure to play the sport, though. I think that is the cool thing about it, we just picked it up on our own.
“We started played together in club. My dad started this club called Southside, because we are from the southside of the big island. It was the four of us playing on a team even though the age difference was three or four years from youngest to oldest. But, we started out playing and picked up a few of our friends from the area where we were living. We used to go all the way to Hilo to play in tournaments every other weekend. We did that for a few years, but once we got into later middle school/early high school, I started playing with a club on Oahu and we all kind of split up from there. Once we all got into high school, that is when we started playing together again.”
Older brother Cory also had something to do with the brothers picking up the sport.
“My oldest brother Cory played at UH, so he started it off,” Emmett shared. “When he was in high school, I think we were in elementary. Ever since then, watching him play, we were all as brothers playing volleyball too. From the time that we can remember, we were always playing volleyball on the beach, since we lived in Hawaii. We have a lot of different hobbies that take up a lot of our time, but volleyball was the one sport that we were really committed to.
“My dad was always the coach for our high school volleyball. He would always be in the gym and we were the managers of his teams growing up. Fast forward and we were all in high school together at the same time and we all played and we all started. It was crazy. It was actually a blast. Me and Evan were the two hitters and the other two were the setters or liberos. I think by the time we graduated high school, we were all over it and were ready to play against each other. We can’t escape it, there is so much volleyball in our lives, but we definitely have fun together and are always competing against each other.”
But as Evan said, it was never a forced thing. Both Addison and Avery tried out other sports, before returning to volleyball.
“I have always been playing volleyball,” Addison said. “I don’t recall too many times where I disliked it or it wasn’t fun to me. I did play other sports growing up. I swam junior and senior year and I played basketball and baseball when I was younger, but they started conflicting with volleyball so I was forced to choose. I do enjoy playing other sports. I liked the challenge of competing in other sports, but I think volleyball is a different point of view. I have tricks and stuff I can do to make it fun.”
It was an injury that solidified Avery’s commitment to the family sport.
“I played football one year and I broke my wrist, so I was done with that,” Avery said. “I didn’t play any football before that, so I was just learning and then I got hurt and I was over it. Volleyball was always there. We always had a ball at the beach and we would be peppering or playing. Just waiting to get in the car to go somewhere, we would be in the driveway playing a little made up game. It was something that we did in our spare time for fun and it just became an everyday thing.”
In The Gym
Guy’s training methods emphasize both the mental and physical sides of the game. It was the mental aspect that sometimes saw his youngest three boys ousted from practice.
“That was all of us but Evan,” Avery said. “We would all get in trouble. There is always that coach/son, father/son thing on the court and in the gym and brother to brother stuff would get heated sometimes, so he would kick us out. I think he was a little harder on us because he knew our tendencies and our attitudes, so he knew when we were into practice or if we had a bad attitude with what was going on and he would yell at us. He would do that for other players too, but he knew how we were. He wasn’t targeting us, he was just our father and he knew his kids.”
While Guy drove the brothers on the court as the coach, their mother Julia was just as important a factor.
“When we were smaller and my dad was coaching Evan and Emmett in high school, my mom would always tell me and my twin to run up behind the bench and tell my dad what he was doing wrong,” Avery said. “Our mom is our number one supporter. She wasn’t necessarily on the sidelines but she was there. At tournaments, she would be there after, telling us what to do, to keep our heads up and what to tell each brother on the court. She was more about mentality, staying focused and not yelling and bickering at each other, but if she saw things my dad wasn’t noticing she would tell us after and tell us what options we had on the court.”
Competitive nature kicked in and that sibling rivalry sharpened each brother’s skills as well.
“They were always better than us growing up, so we were always competing and trying to push each other because they would hate losing to me and Avery,” Addison said. “We were always trying to outsmart them or outwork them. I have definitely watched them and taken some things from them, but I have tried to create my own style, not to be different but to have my own way that is comfortable to me. I don’t think anyone has a specific better skill. I think overall all four of us have picked up each section of the game pretty well. Just overall, I think if I had to put a list on it, it would go Evan, Emmett, me and Avery, just because Evan has a few more years experience and Emmett as well, but we will see what happens.”
Evan agrees that the four are pretty evenly matched, partially because they have played together for so long.
“I am sure that from time to time one of us jumped the other in terms of a certain skill, but in the summer we all play together,” Evan said. “We don’t do drills or anything. During the summer we always play in tournaments up in Oregon where my dad runs volleyball camps for a few months every summer. During the weekends we jump from tournament to tournament – grass tournaments, beach tournaments, all kinds of different tournaments. We will play together a lot. We actually grew up being hitters, but we all went to college as liberos. We can pretty much play any position but libero is of course what we probably will succeed at most in college. But I started my career here at Stanford as an outside and then moved to libero. Emmett actually played outside a few games last year too (for Cal Baptist).”
Off The Court
As much as volleyball is a part of the Enriques families’ way of life, it is the off-the-court fun of living near the beach that has bonded the brothers even more.
“Actually the thing that brought us more together as a family was fishing,” Evan said. “We kind of live this outdoor life, so that is pretty cool. We live right next to this beach and we used to go camping and fishing and freediving and all of those kinds of things. Those are the kind of family things that we used to do a lot and still do actually. Volleyball is similar in that regard, but is was more like a side job I guess you could say. We all enjoyed doing it, but it was more of a weekend thing rather than something that we did every day.”
Emmett agreed that the outdoor lifestyle is part of who they are as a family.
“If we are not playing volleyball, we are doing something outdoors,” Emmett said. “We grew up in Hawaii. Our family is into fishing and we go out on the boat a lot. One of the ways we make money is selling our fish at the fish market. We have been doing it our whole lives. Our house it right next to the ocean, so if there is one thing outside of volleyball that we are good at, I would say it is fishing and swimming and diving. Every time we go back on break, we are out on the boat, fishing or surfing or something like that.”
And just as each brother excels at certain on the court skills, they each have their favorite outdoor activities as well.
“Evan is for sure the fisherman of the family,” Addison said. “If we are not playing volleyball, he wants to go home and fish. He has already talked to me about his plans for after college and he wants to go home and start his own fishing business. Emmett likes to create plans and jump around more with activities and hang out with friends. I am more into surfing and body boarding. But, when all of us are on the boat, we have a good time, making jokes, cracking up and just having a good time.”
And the danger factor of some of those activities, although competitive, has each brother looking out for the other.
“It definitely brings us closer because some of the stuff we do like diving and body boarding can be dangerous, so we always have to watch out for each other,” Avery said. “I have gotten hurt a couple of times and Addi has gotten hurt body boarding. Diving is always a little scary, but it is fun. It gives us something else we can go to and it is definitely a relief to have something else to do if we are stressed out from volleyball or just need something else fun to do.”
While their on and off court activities may be similar, each brother has written his own story in collegiate volleyball. Meet Evan, Emmett, Addison and Avery Enriques.
Evan Looks to Leave A Legacy at Stanford
Although the 2018 season hasn’t gone as planned for Stanford, with the Cardinal sitting at 2-10, Evan Enriques has done his part with 2.28 digs per set (98 digs), to go with 28 assists, 11 kills, four aces, three blocks and just 10 reception errors. The senior has posted double-digit digs three times, with a season-high 15 twice (vs. Princeton and Ohio State). The libero has turned hitter in the last three matches, notching four kills vs. UC San Diego, six vs. USC and one in nine swings against brother Emmett’s CSUN squad.
The two-time All-American (first team 2016, honorable mention 2017), who played with the U.S. national team last summer in the Pan American Cup, is ready to do whatever it takes to help his team, both now and in the future.
“I have no idea what volleyball lies ahead after this, so I am trying to figure out what I can leave this team with,” Evan said. “More than anything, what can I give these guys, especially the young guys, that I have learned over four years that will help them be successful, even this year.
“I think of course the overall goal is to start by winning the conference. That is my goal and also the team’s goal. My personal goal is to get on a level of being an All-American, which is a hard level to sustain. I have kind of held that level over the years and now it is a matter of how can I take everything that I have learned and kind of improve off of that.”
All told at Stanford, he has managed 689 digs (2.22 per set), while also adding 181 assists, 39 kills and eight blocks.
The 2012 Hawaii State Player of the Year has a history with the USA program, playing on the youth national team in 2013 at the FIVB U19 World Championship in Mexico, on the 2014 junior national team at the NORCECA Championship in El Salvador and then at the Pan Am Cup in 2017, but the future is uncertain.
“Evan is really good, everyone on our team knows that he is a phenomenal defensive player,” Emmett said of his older brother.
Emmett Settling in at CSUN
After spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Cal Baptist, Emmett Enriques has found a new home and is loving every minute of his new opportunity at Cal State Northridge
“I love this team,” Emmett said. “When I came here, all of our teammates click, which is awesome, and the skill level here is just so amazing. I think one of the best assets of our team is that we click on and off the court.”
It isn’t just his teammates that are different at Northridge, it is what they have done to his game.
“The last two years, I have played every single game,” Emmett said. “I really hadn’t had any competition at my last school. When I came here, we had two really good liberos: Kelsey Yogi, who left, and Sean Mitchell, a freshman who is really good. I have a lot of competition and obviously competition makes everyone better. It is a lot different for me because I am not used to it, but it is good, especially for the team.”
That has bore fruit in the form of 52 digs, including a season-high 10 vs. brother Evan’s Stanford squad on Feb. 10, and 13 assists as the junior has played in 34 of CSUN’s 38 sets. And the Matadors are off to a great start, with a 7-4 record and a No. 11 national ranking. Three of the team’s setbacks have come at the hands of Top 10 teams in #10 Lewis, #7 Loyola-Chicago and #2 UCLA. The lone exception was that four-set loss to brother Addison’s Concordia squad.
“Being across the court is probably going to be just like our high school days when we were on opposite sides of the net during practice just digging at each other and try to get the other one to do better by getting a little angrier and making it a little harder,” Addison said. “That is what I like to do and I know Emmett likes to do it. We like to push each other’s limits. Even if I don’t get in, I will still be hollering him from the side and trying to make my team better.”
Addison is in Watch and Learn Mode
Being a freshman is never easy, but Addison Enriques is just happy to be at the collegiate level and is looking to soak in as much knowledge as he can before his number is called at Concordia-Irvine.
“The senior libero (Jacob Weiser) that I am currently competing with is really good,” Addi said. “I really want to try to watch him first and then kind of learn before I actually start off getting into it. I really want to watch him play because I am kind of under him. This is my first year and I know I have room for improvement and Jake is being my mentor on the team, helping me and teaching me, giving me side notes and helping me out with techniques and stuff. That is what I really want to do to start off this first season. But, if I do get in, I am going to go back and try to recall my younger days.”
Adding to the learning curve is that Addison is now in the libero role after playing outside hitter and setter as a prepster.
“I didn’t get a lot of libero reps before college,” he explained. “Throughout all of my years in club, I played outside hitter and I got a lot of my passing reps through that. My freshman and sophomore years of high school, I played setter and then my junior and senior years I moved back to outside hitter. I knew height would be an issue, so I would be relegated to libero status, but I really don’t mind, I like being the libero. It definitely helps having been a hitter. I can definitely see different techniques and tendencies that people have and watch for certain things, so I have been trying to incorporate what I have noted.”
Addison has played in 15 of the team’s 35 sets, notching two assists and nine digs. He tallied a season-high four saves in each of Concordia’s two matches against UC San Diego.
The Eagles are 4-5 on the season, having played a tough schedule including matches against No. 1 Long Beach State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 UC Irvine, No. 11 Cal State Northridge and No. 12 Pepperdine. Next up is a Thursday tilt with Evan’s Stanford squad.
Mental Adjustment, Position Change on Slate for Avery
Like his other three brothers, Avery has had to flip the switch to the libero role and do so on a highly competitive Grand Canyon team.
“It is definitely a step up in the level of play and it is a big step up from high school mentally too,” Avery said. “I basically sat my first two years and played libero, setter and outside my junior year and then played outside my senior year. I played wherever the team needed me. It is definitely a different mentality switching from hitting and offensive thinking to always thinking defense. As an outside, I was always on defense, but it wasn’t my main focus. It helped me understand where I need to be and that little bit of defense has definitely prepared me for full-time defense.”
Avery has played in four of the team’s 14 matches, dishing out four assists and notching 13 digs in seven sets of action. He accounted for a season-best five digs and two assists in the team’s Jan. 13 sweep of Limestone.
No. 10 Grand Canyon is 11-3 on the year, with its losses coming to No. 2 UCLA, then No. 6 UC Irvine and then No. 4 Hawaii. Next up is a Thursday MPSF battle with No. 7 BYU in Phoenix.
“It is an honor to be with this group of guys,” Avery said. “It is definitely a big switch from being a senior to being a freshman with nine seniors around you. It is interesting and I am just taking as much notes as I can from these guys, especially Sky (Engleman), at this level, so that I can be prepared when they are gone and hopefully next year I can play.”
The Twin Factor
One would be remiss to not address the twin factor, a much asked about part of Avery and Addison’s lives. Suffice to say they are different people, with similar traits, happy to be living their own lives for the first time.
“Playing with Avery wasn’t the easiest thing to do,” Addison said. “People think we are the same person, but we have very different personalities. We are definitely similar, but we are also definitely different people. We have been kind of paired with each our entire lives coming to college. If I went to go do something, it was Addi, you can’t do that unless your brother goes. Later in our high school careers, we didn’t get along very well, but that didn’t stop us from getting stuff done and moving on. We would fight and argue, but we would always move on.
“We are both kind of loud and annoying, but he sees things differently than I do. He definitely likes to charge things and go at it right away stuff, where I like to take a step back before jumping into things. We have definitely seen the same things and experienced the same things with each other, it is just different because we don’t have the exact mindset when situations come up. It is hard to explain.”
Avery agrees that the brothers needed space and both are thriving individually.
“It is a good thing being separated because we can both get our own feel for things,” Avery said. “I played with him my whole life, our club and high school team has probably been the same since middle school days, so I guess it is a good thing because we don’t have to deal with each other. It will be interesting seeing him on the other side of the net, but I am definitely enjoying it and it has been going good so far.”