When Allison Yaeger, who was then Seton Hall volleyball assistant coach, took a recruiting trip to Philadelphia in 2010, she found two high school talents that immediately excited her.
“As I was watching them, I noticed one’s ability to set up the offense,” said Yaeger, who is in her third season as the Pirates’ head coach. “Then, I turned to the other and was impressed. My hope was that they were available to come in a package.”
The “package” that she was hoping for has turned into a duo unlike any other that Seton Hall Volleyball has seen. Twin sisters Shelbey and Stacey Manthorpe, out of Merion Mercy Academy (PA), would not have had it any other way than coming to South Orange. “We feed off one another,” Stacey said. “We wanted to keep that going into college and we loved the idea of playing for a program that we could fill a role in right away.”
Shelbey has already written herself into the history books at The Hall, compiling 10 triple doubles in the 2013 season, the most in all of the country. Named to the All-Big East Second Team twice and the All-Big East First Team in 2012, Shelbey is who the Pirates’ offense goes through. She had a season-high 39 assists and 21 digs against UNLV in the finale of the Seton Hall Invitational on Sept. 6, not to mention a triple-double in the Hurricane Invitational on Aug. 30 against Florida Gulf Coast. “My first goal this year is to have fun,” Shelbey said. “I think we have the talent to succeed, and I’m going to put everything I have into this season.”
Stacey is off to a sizzling start to 2014, earning a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll in two straight weeks. The senior piled up double-doubles in all three of this past weekend’s matches for The Hall at the West Virginia Invitational. Stacey was named to the Seton Hall Invitational All-Tournament Team just two weeks ago in a weekend that saw her match her career-high in kills with 18 and set a new high of 26 digs against UNLV. Stacey currently leads the team with 3.44 kills per set and has 117 in 10 games of action this season, which is 38 more than any other player on the team. She is well on her way to a third straight year of Big East recognition. “When I look at my career, the beginning of Big East play in my freshman year set the tone,” Shelbey said. “We went to Pitt (Pittsburgh) and had not beaten them in quite some time. To be a freshman and win in such a tough conference game was huge. I’ll always remember that.”
“They are our motor,” Yaeger said. “When these two are rolling, we’re rolling. You also see us in down times because our opponents know who to target. You can especially see the competitive nature when they face their rivals, whether it’s St. John’s or Villanova, with that school being in Philadelphia, closer to home for the girls.”
Being close to home has meant a lot for not only the Manthorpe sisters, but their family. The oldest two in a family of four kids, the Manthorpe family has also been a staple to Walsh Gymnasium throughout the last four years.
“To have our parents at games means the world,” Shelbey said. “Their family has been behind what our program has been doing, and it means a lot to have that support,” Yaeger added.
The two have also made their presence felt to the athletic department and on the university’s campus. Both Shelbey and Stacey have interned with the Seton Hall athletics marketing department. The two also have continued following their Catholic faith. “It meant so much to continue our Catholic education after we went to Catholic schools,” Shelbey said. “We also love the community here. Everybody knows everybody on this campus.”
“Our program is well-respected around this campus, and Shelbey and Stacey are a big reason why,” said Yaeger. “It’s been so fun to watch them grow into one of the best duos in the country.”
John Fanta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @John_Fanta.