Jaelynn Lawrence and Jillian Bontempo are crosstown rivals but best friends.
As Flagler Palm Coast’s sophomore Jaelynn Lawrence and Matanzas’ senior Jillian Bontempo exited the gym after the first crosstown rival match of the season, Lawrence yelled to Bontempo, “Good job, Jill. You were horrible tonight.” Bontempo responded, “Thanks. You were horrible, too.”
These rival athletes have developed a friendly trash talk now that they’re best friends. But, they weren’t always close. A couple of years ago, they say, they hated one another.
“It was mostly just differences and girl stuff,” Lawrence said. “We were caught up in drama between other friends.”
When Lawrence joined the Lady Bulldog volleyball team, she became friends with then-teammate senior Parker Allen, who is also Bontempo’s friend.
“She pretty much forced us to be friends,” Lawrence said. “We both wanted to hang out with Parker, but we didn’t want to hang with each other, so eventually we all started hanging out with each other, and it got to the point where we didn’t care.”
“It was pretty easy bridging the gap because, once they met each other, they got along really well,” Allen said. “Now, they’re close friends, just them two.”
Allen, along with their other friends, held up a poster, during the game on Sept. 2, which read “Our hearts are divided,” with a broken heart and both Bontempo and Lawrence’s name and number on it.
“We’re definitely closer than I ever thought we’d be,” Lawrence said.
“If we don’t hang out for a day, we’ll be like, ‘Oh, I miss you,’ to each other” Bontempo added.
Playing for rival teams, Bontempo and Lawrence actually enjoy it. Lawrence says if she hits the ball over to Bontempo, and if she hits it out, then she will smirk at her. Other times, they will just look at each other and laugh, but, before and after the game, they like to talk trash to each other.
A prime example was when Bontempo talked about how Lawrence goes out to the beach with her to watch her surf, although Lawrence can’t. When asked if there is anything that she does that Bontempo can’t do, Lawrence replied, “Play volleyball.”
Other than their sport, they don’t trash talk each other. Even after Bontempo’s Pirates celebrated their first football win against the Bulldogs, nothing was said to Lawrence. And, while they sat on separate sides during the game, Lawrence slept over at Bontempo’s house.
The next crosstown matchup will be at Flagler Palm Coast, in FPC’s second-to-last game of the regular season. Junior varsity begins at 5:30 p.m., and varsity at 6:30 p.m.