CRESSON—Chelsea Perehinec and Lauren Oldham donned their navy and grey Mount Aloysius uniforms for the final time last weekend. That ceremonial occasion brought full circle the story of a pair of Catholic school girl rivals turned inseparable teammates.
As a 2009 graduate of Bishop Guilfoyle High School, Perehinec has a genuine appreciation for the passion that goes into a Bishop Guilfoyle/Bishop Carroll match-up.
“It wasn’t that we hated each other, but (Bishop Carroll) games were always intense,” Perehinec said.
Oldham, a Bishop Carroll alum, has a slightly different perspective on the rivalry.
“The schools in general are rivals, but in volleyball, BG had a good program, and they always seemed to get the best of us,” Oldham said.“In my high school career, we never once beat them. That is part of what fueled the rivalry, I guess. We always wanted to beat them, but we always came up short.”
Perehinec and Oldham had been playing against each other since seventh grade. When they concluded their high school careers, they both enrolled at Mount Aloysius and their relationship took on a new label: teammates.
“When they first came, they were like enemies,” Mount Aloysius volleyball coach Brianna Baker said. “But then they started to click, and I think they realized they actually had a lot in common.”
“I always respected BG’s program, and Chelsea was always the player I remembered from their team. She was a force in the middle, and just had this quiet confidence about her.
“We kind of clung to each other during our first summer league together on the same team. She was passionate about volleyball, just like me. We just knew we were going to be close,” Oldham said.
Fast forward four years, and it is hard to imagine Perehinec and Olham were ever anything but the closest of friends.
“Around campus, everyone always asks me, ‘Where’s your other half?’ I think they just kind of associate the two of us together,” Oldham said.
In addition to their passion for volleyball, the duo also has a passion for serving others. During their tenure at Mount Aloysius, they have volunteered for numerous community service projects.
“We like to help others, and that is something we learned at Catholic school, and continue to learn at Mount Aloysius,” Perehinec said.
Perehinec and Oldham excel off the court in other ways, too. They have both been on the Dean’s List, and assumed leadership roles for campus clubs. Oldham is the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) and Perehinec is an officer for the Student Accounting Society.
With that much in common, it seems hard to fathom that Perehinec actually views Oldham as her “opposite.”
“We are so complete opposites, but that is probably what balances us out,” Perehinec said. “I’m the more serious one, and she is the more outgoing, crazy one.”
Interestingly, that summation has not escaped their coach’s eye, at least when it comes to their playing styles.
“Chelsea is the dependable one. She is kind of motherly and keeps everyone under control and calm on the court. Lauren is all heart. She is the energy of the team and always gets the team and the crowd excited. They are both good teammates, and complement each other so well,” Baker said.
Perehinec and Oldham will always have a special place in their coach’s heart. They were Baker’s first recruits.
“They are a coach’s dream. They are hardworking and make people around them want to play better,” a nostalgic Baker said.
Both players grew up with brothers, and were the only girl in their families. With their playing days now behind them, it is time for their relationship to once again take on a new label.
“We’re inseparable now. We’ll be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. It is not even like we're friends anymore. She is more like family to me. She is the sister I never had,”Perehinec said.