Bonds of Family Strong for Xaverian Clipper Sports Sisters

Xaverian sisters Emily, left, and Alex, right, Carbonaro are continuing the family’s sports legacy. (Photo: Courtesy Xaverian H.S.)

When we think of sports sisters, the immediate thought is Venus and Serena Williams. Their journey in sports began at such a young age, and they honed their craft throughout the years. 

At Xaverian H.S., Bay Ridge, a pair of sports sisters is carving out their own impressive legacy. Junior Alex and freshman Emily Carbonaro are multi-sport athletes for the Clippers, and even more importantly, they’re both honor roll students. 

The girls both play volleyball and basketball in high school — Emily for junior varsity and Alex on varsity. They began their sports careers as soccer players in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) for Blessed Trinity, Breezy Point. 

As parishioners at St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor, they were constantly playing sports growing up in the Rockaways. Emily, the younger sister, always tagged along for Alex’s endeavors and thus developed a similar love of sports. 

Alex has settled in as a standout player for Xaverian’s girls’ varsity volleyball and basketball teams. As an outside hitter and libero, she helped guide the volleyball team this fall to an undefeated regular season while capturing diocesan and city championship titles. 

In basketball, Alex stars as a guard/forward for a Clipper team that reached the diocesan finals last season. She’s a back-to-back Tablet All-Star and well on her way to a third consecutive honor. 

Meanwhile, Emily’s sports career at Xaverian started off in a similar fashion to her older sister. She played as a setter on the junior varsity volleyball team that also capped off an undefeated regular season with diocesan and city championship victories. She’s now in her first season playing basketball as a guard/forward on the junior varsity team. 

Sports run in the family for the Carbonaros. The girls’ mother, Allison, was a Division I basketball player at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, while their father, Larry, is a football coach at James Madison H.S., Midwood. 

As similar as their upbringings have been, facts are facts: They’re sisters — of course there are squabbles and disputes. However, they both agreed that when it comes down to it, they have each other’s backs. 

“It’s been great having her (Emily) grow up with me and grow up playing sports together,” Alex said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why we are so close.” 

As the younger sister, Emily has followed in Alex’s footsteps but has also strived to make her own path in sports. She’s looked to her sister to guide her, especially with the transition from grammar school to a strong academic institution like Xaverian. 

“I always wanted to do what she (Alex) did,” Emily said. “That’s why I started playing volleyball and basketball a lot. In the beginning, I really didn’t like volleyball, but then I saw Alex playing at school and loving it, so I started playing for CYO and started to love it.” 

Though both have this engrained passion for sports, they disagree about their true sports loves. Alex’s favorite sport is basketball, while Emily is all about volleyball. Sisterhood disagreements come with the territory. 

Still, for both of them, having built-in support during such an important time in their lives has been critical to their development as students and as athletes. 

“I’ve done my best helping her (Emily) with the transition to high school, especially with schoolwork and just balancing everything,” Alex said. 

“I think she’s (Alex) set a really good example for me,” Emily said. “She does it so well and has set really high standards for me to follow.” 

Right now, both sisters are focused on their respective seasons. Someday though, when they look back on their high school years, they’ll truly appreciate how lucky they were to have had each other going through such similar sports experiences.