Bonded by sports at a young age, Drew and Marie Plitt found their way to Ball State and continue to thrive as athletes and siblings.

Marie Plitt has completed her first year as a middle blocker for Ball State women’s volleyball, which won the 2019 MAC championship. Redshirt junior Drew Plitt, ’19, finished his third football season, averaging 243 yards passing as starting quarterback. He graduated in December, is working on his MBA and will play for the Cardinals this Spring and Fall.

Their sibling relationship has been everything but a rivalry. Their parents, Julie and Steve Plitt, remember Drew and older brother Bryce in constant friendly competition while Marie strived to become like the two of them.

The family’s love and dedication to sports didn’t start with the kids. Their parents are alumni of Xavier University’s volleyball and baseball programs, respectively, and they were varsity coaches of those sports at Loveland (Ohio) High School. Bryce, who also played baseball at Xavier, now coaches at Loveland.

“Sports are just what we’re good at,” Julie said. “We loved the way it bonded us as a family. Of course, there are other things we love to do together, but going and attending sporting events together, playing sports together—it’s always been our thing.”

Whether it was in the backyard, on the court, or wherever they could manage to find a ball, the Plitt siblings were there, working to get better and bonding as brothers and sister.

A three-year letter winner and 2013 state champion for Loveland High, Drew joined the Cardinals in 2016. After redshirting his freshman year, he continued to move up the depth chart and took control of the starting quarterback position.

Quarterback Drew Plitt passes during a game.

Drew Plitt was Ball State’s starting quarterback in 2019, directing a MAC-leading offense in scoring (34.8 points a game) and total offense (463 yards a game). His 24 touchdown passes also led the conference.

Earning the Ray Louthen Award in 2018 for the most improved player, Drew has proven himself worthy on this Cardinal roster. In the victorious 2019 season finale against Miami University, Plitt threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns. He’s fifth on Ball State’s single-season passing chart and eighth in all-time passing.

Sports runs in the family

“Our parents were our primary coaches growing up,” Drew said. “They would take us to the gym or the field and work with us on whatever we needed. It was something we did together pretty often as a family.”

But even while Drew was in Muncie and Marie was still in high school at Loveland, their bond remained strong.

“Drew made it a point to drive back home to as many of her games as he could while she was still in high school,” Julie said. “They enjoy each other’s successes, and when there are setbacks, they pick each other up.”

As for Marie, competition was her first love. Whether it was learning from her older brothers or competing on the court, she has always loved the way sports challenged her. When the opportunity arose for her to play volleyball and join her brother at Ball State, she said it couldn’t have been a more perfect fit.

Drew being here was a big part of what piqued my interest in Ball State. Then the volleyball program was interested in me. I checked out the campus, and I absolutely loved the program.

Marie committed to Ball State as a junior at Loveland, where her mom coached her. She was named team MVP as a sophomore, junior and senior and led the Tigers to a 22-2 record her final year.

While there was friendly competition in the household growing up, Marie said Drew played a big role in helping her grow as an athlete.

“He and our older brother, Bryce, really pushed me when I was a kid,” Marie said. “We’d always play games together, and the competition was fun. Sports always helped us relate to each other.”

Encouraging each other

With both football and volleyball in full swing, fall is a hectic time on campus for Marie and Drew. Even amid their chaotic athletic schedules, the two have managed to get together frequently to catch up.

“We tried to meet up at least once or twice a week,” Drew said. “A lot of times, we’d get coffee to see how things were going, see how volleyball was going and all that.”

Marie Plitt stretches high for a volleyball return.

Marie Plitt stretches high for a return. As a freshman, she was second on the team in both solo blocks and block assists and had 196 kills. In high school, she was a four-year letter winner in volleyball and basketball.

The support system between the siblings was unmatched, as they attended as many of each other’s games as they could and made sure they were exchanging encouraging words. Because they go to the same school, it makes in-person sibling bonding time easier—and it gives their parents peace of mind knowing the two are not alone.

“It eases my mind knowing that Marie has Drew there with her,” Julie said. “And of course, it’s cool when they’ve both had Saturday games, and we’re able to watch him in the afternoon and her in the evening.

It’s a lot of fun.”

This story was adapted from an article that appeared the Oct. 3, 2019, edition of the Ball State Daily News.