After Marquette High School’s boys volleyball team qualified for the state tournament on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Marquette University High School, William (left) and Luke (right) de Guzman went up to Germantown to see their triplet sister, Olivia, qualify for state with her DSHA team. (Submitted photo)
Olivia de Guzman has the perfect description for what it’s like being one of five siblings and part of a set of triplets.
“It’s never boring at our house,” the DSHA senior said.
That house actually might have been boring the weekend of Nov. 3-5.
That’s because the whole family — and many members of the extended family — was in Green Bay at the Resch Center for the WIAA state volleyball tournament.
Olivia de Guzman is a member of the DSHA team that won the state championship over Oconomowoc, while the other two triplets — Luke and William — were involved with the Marquette boys team that fell in the semifinals to Catholic Memorial after winning state in 2021. Luke is the libero for the Hilltoppers, while William became the team’s manager after playing at Marquette as a freshman and sophomore.
“We loved having our family together for the weekend,” said the triplets’ mother, Sharon de Guzman. “It was a very special experience to have all three children participating in the state tournament, although it was humorous watching us change from our MUHS spirit wear into our DSHA spirit wear in the restrooms between games. Overall, it’s such a unique experience and it was fun to watch the kids share it together. A truly special and memorable weekend for us.”
Olivia became the fourth member of the family to be part of a state championship; older sister Nicole won a championship at DSHA in 2014. The other sibling — Mara — was Olivia’s teammate in 2021 at DSHA and is now a freshman at the University of Iowa.
Growing up as triplets was a unique experience and one the trio looks back on fondly.
Said Olivia, “It’s super cool to always have that playmate or someone to be with; never having to experience being alone at times. Being the only girl, it taught me how to be tough and more vocal in situations. In little fights or joking around, I always had to be tougher because of two boys, one girl. It was a very cool dynamic for me.”
Luke said, “It’s interesting because it’s all I’ve ever known. Always having two other people there changed the way I looked at having siblings. It was a really fun experience for me. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Will said he remembered having to share everything and when they weren’t around, there was no one to talk to.
In May 2020, the trio celebrated their 15th birthday, which turned into a joyous occasion because none of them had seen their friends in a while because of the pandemic.
Birthday parties in the family were always a big deal.
“I remember all of our little birthday parties together,” Olivia said. “Having two brothers, it always helped with having a lot of people there. Even playing outside, I had two little best friends to play with. I think some of our biggest memories were through volleyball and that connection we had with the family.”
One of those memories was Nicole’s state championship in 2014; there is a family photo where Mara and the triplets were all wearing red and yellow face paint to support DSHA while Nicole beams holding the state championship trophies.
But the family was always on the road for Nicole’s tournaments as kids.
With Nicole several years older than her siblings, she really laid the groundwork and served as a role model for the four who came behind her.
Luke said Nicole was “good at everything she did.”
“Seeing that makes you want to be the best person you can,” Luke said. “Having that older role model — and the people you’re with be so competitive — is where my competitiveness comes from.”
Like they had to do almost four years ago after going to Christ King School in Wauwatosa for kindergarten through eighth grade, the triplets will be “split” even further after graduating in the spring.
Will is looking to attend Marquette University.
“There’s something about close to home but you can make it feel as far away as you like at times that’s comforting to me,” Will said.
Olivia is looking to continue her volleyball career by possibly playing at Illinois Wesleyan.
Luke, a self-described math and science guy, is looking at various schools to continue his education, perhaps in biomedical engineering.
After all of the years of camps, club tournaments and practices, along with the many miles of travel, Sharon and her husband, Jim, are about six months away from being empty nesters.
“It’s hard to envision that right now,” Sharon de Guzman said. “It certainly will be a big adjustment to our current hectic schedule. We’ll miss the chaos, the crazy schedules and, of course, miss seeing the kids every day. Hopefully, we’ve provided a good foundation for the kids to continue to grow as young adults, to take the skills they’ve learned from playing a team sport and, most importantly, to continue to grow in their faith.”