Oct. 2, 2014
By Brad Muller | More Features
If their off-court success matches their on-court success, Kristen and Darian Dozier are going to do very well for themselves when they earn their respective degrees from South Carolina. Growing up just outside of Washington, D.C., Kristen, a first year graduate assistant with the volleyball program after a decorated international and collegiate career at Ohio State, and younger sister Darian, a junior middle blocker for the Gamecocks, are not only focused on volleyball, but also where their degrees will carry them.
"My ultimate dream is to own a wedding planning business," said Darian, who is studying marketing and management. "But I need to see what else I like too. I'd like to be in a large corporation, in the marketing department."
Kristen, who is 26 and six years older than Darian, is working toward a master's in international business. She started Dozier Performance four years ago, which is a seasonal business running primarily during the summer with a mission of providing world-class volleyball training to young athletes from former collegiate and professional athletes. She earned Honorable Mention All-Big 10 honors as a senior at Ohio State in 2009 and was a part of USA's national team in 2013. She also played professionally in Spain, Israel, Puerto Rico, Germany, and Poland. Although they enjoy seeing each other every day, they do not infringe on the other's independence.
"I think she should have her own college experience," Kristen said. "I'm in a different phase of my life, and I want her to have her own fun. She used to be a `wild child' in the sense that she was very aggressive, and she has always known what she wanted. She will go for it. She will take you out if she has to, but in the nicest way possible."
"The best part about being a Gamecock is the support you get from the fans and the whole atmosphere of everyone around here really loving being a Gamecock."
Although they don't live together, there are perks to having a member of the family so close.
"We certainly get to see each other more since she's not in some other country," Darian said. "Honestly, we still act the same as we did when we were younger. We're still silly and laughing all the time. It's really nice. I can just go over to her house sometimes and chill and get a little good cooking from her."
"I do the cooking; she does the eating," Kristen laughed.
Darian ranks second in the SEC and twelfth in the nation in blocks per set. Last year, she ranked eighth in the SEC in blocks and finished the season with 107 block assists, which is tied for the most in a single season in school history in the rally scoring era. She also recorded 115 total blocks, the third most all-time in a single season in the rally scoring era at South Carolina.
"The best part about being a Gamecock is the support you get from the fans and the whole atmosphere of everyone around here really loving being a Gamecock," Darian said. "Whenever you go to volleyball games now, it's packed, and it helps you fuel through the games so much. They're so loyal."
While the sisters are competitive, they are quick to compliment the other about their abilities.
"I think the difference between us is that Kristen is more polished as a middle blocker," Darian said. "I started playing middle when I first came to college, so I've been learning. For both of us, our game grew from our freshman year. I still have another year, so hopefully I'll keep growing and getting better."
"She had to learn a new position at an elite level in a short amount of time," Kristen said. "So that's really good. She's versatile, and she can play defense a lot better than I could. I might have been more familiar with the middle, but as an overall player, she has a better grasp of the game at her age than I did."
Another sister, Jourdan, was an outstanding volleyball player at George Mason from 2005-2008. As to who was the best player in the family, nobody is ready to make that claim.
"We all do different things better, and we all have different skill sets," Darian said. "We'd make a pretty good team. We'd have it all covered."
Growing up near the nation's capital exposed the sisters to many views and lifestyles, which made it easier to leave home for their respective educations.
"Where we were, we saw all different kinds of life, all different ethnicities, and all different kinds of belief systems," Kristen said. "Within every big city there are opportunities for growth. Going away to school was cool. I had an adjustment period my freshman year, but after that I appreciated doing something different."
"When you come somewhere else like South Carolina, you realize how exposed we were to different types of people," Darian added. "I was never worried about being homesick. I always wanted to get away from the area just to try something new."
Darian still has a lot to look forward to in her collegiate volleyball career, and she hasn't ruled out following Kristen's footsteps in pursuing a playing career after college.
"I've always told myself that I'll know when it needs to come to an end," Darian said. "So we'll see what happens after next year. I might want to start my work and focus on whatever career I choose, or if I'm not ready to go, then I'll keep playing."
Studying at the nation's top rated school for international business, Kristen is excited about the places her degree may take her.
"I love to travel," Kristen said. "That's part of the reason I wanted to do my international MBA. I want to reach other parts of the globe."
When it is time to get down to business off the volleyball court, the sisters haven't ruled out working together some day, but they would have to discuss who will be in charge.
"I guess it depends on what type of business," Darian said. "I just need to be in a city area."
"We'd have to talk about it," Kristen said with a smile. "We'll keep it in the family."
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