So what inspired Annika and Elsa Linden’s names?
“She’s named after the ice princess!” Annika said of her sister.
“No,” Elsa interjected.
“You know — like Elsa from ‘Frozen’,” Annika said, laughing.
Elsa’s lips were sealed. It’s like she had shut a door and gone away.
“Everybody I meet will say something about it,” Elsa muttered. “And they think I don’t hear it all the time.”
But Annika’s and Elsa’s special powers are as standout volleyball players at Fife High School, as opposed to the similarly named princesses, Anna and Elsa, of the popular Disney film.
They’ve helped lead the Trojans to an 11-1 start to the season with a chance to enact revenge on their one loss this season. They face rival and third-ranked White River (11-0) on Wednesday in Buckley.
Annika, a senior, is a returning first-team all-2A SPSL setter for Fife. Elsa is a sophomore outside hitter who has seen her role grow after getting significant playing time last season, when the Trojans bounced back from an opening-round loss to Burlington-Edison in the 2A state tournament to win their next two matches and place eighth. Fife lost two seniors from that team.
With as many players as they had returning this year, the Trojans are hoping for a magical finish to this season.
“This is the most cohesive group I’ve had here,” said fifth-year Fife coach Katy Ferguson, who played at Stadium and Saint Martin’s University. “They all really like each other. I’ve coached for teams where they say that and I know it’s not true. And what they did last year has made me even more excited for this year.”
Annika and Elsa are the third and fourth Lindens to come through the volleyball program. And before that, their father, Jon Linden, starred in football and basketball at Fife before he met his wife Krista.
They have seven children — all daughters.
There’s Lara, Eva, Annika, Elsa, Klara, Mia and Sophia. Sophia goes by “Spike” after the final Golden Spike that joined the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Similarly Jon and Krista declared that Sophia would be their final offspring.
The most difficult part of having six sisters?
“Food,” Annika said. “It’s first-come, first-serve. There are tears sometimes. We go to Costco and three days later the good stuff is already gone — nothing but raisins and peppers left.”
And one night, Elsa just couldn’t let it go.
“It was my favorite meal, Chicken Santa Fe, and there was nothing left,” Elsa said. “I was so mad.”
“She came home and she was like slamming cupboards,” Annika said. “She rips open the door and I’m doing homework: ‘You didn’t save any for me!’ ”
Almost all the Lindens play volleyball. Lara played at Northwest University and is now helping as an assistant coach at Fife, while Eva plays at Southern Methodist University.
They said they got into the sport because of their aunts — Katherine Lindgren played at the University of Kentucky and Trisha Lindgren at Kansas.
Elsa used to not like her name. Then on Christmas Eve four years ago they went to the movie theater as a family to see “Frozen.”
“I thought it was super cool,” she said. “I was so psyched about it.”
So she went all out. Elsa, like her similarly named animated character, has long blonde hair. It used to be much longer before she cut 14 inches off last summer, she said.
Elsa ran for school president in the seventh grade and went “Frozen” themed. She braided her hair and changed the words of the movie’s song, “Let it Go,” into a speech. Her mom bought her a long blue dress, but it was too big, so she wore a blue shirt.
“And now I still have people who ask me if I was named after her,” Elsa said. “Like, in all seriousness, I’m older than the movie!”
For the record, she was really named after her great-great grandmother.
But it’s not hard to see other similarities.
Their family is from a foreign land (Sweden, not Arendelle). They don’t live in a castle, but Annika and Elsa do share a bright yellow bedroom that matches the yellow in Fife’s gymnasium.
And the sisters say they really love snow — the cold doesn’t bother them. Their mother is from Colorado.
Would they want to build a snowman?
“I would,” Annika said, laughing. “I think it’s fun. I really do.”
“But our last one was awful,” Elsa said.
It wasn’t named Olaf.
Do they like singing?
“Annika thinks she’s good,” said Fife senior Madison Licari, a returning first-team, all-league middle blocker.
“I actually think that if I try, I’m good,” Annika said. “I’m being serious.”
Elsa said she memorized all the words to the songs in the movie.
“I’ve actually never seen it,” sophomore Tevlin Britten said.
Her teammates immediately scolded her and began arranging a team movie night. Annika turned to her younger sister.
“Would you dress up like the ice princess for us?” Annika asked.
Elsa didn’t respond. Only a blank stare.
Annika and Elsa don’t have a pet reindeer. But they did get a black Labrador they call Russell Wilson.
“My dad said the only way we could get a puppy is if it was a male,” Elsa said.
And Elsa doesn’t have any secret freezing powers. But if she could have a superpower?
“Maybe to be able to turn off the light in our room,” Elsa said. “We always complain about who has to turn the light off.”
“So we try to throw shoes at the switch,” Annika added.
If there is a greatest similarity between these real-life Annika and Elsa sisters, it’s that their friendship is no fixer-upper.
“When we were little we would fight way more than we do now,” Elsa said. “We do everything together now.”
“And I feel like all the fights in our house are always about food, clothes and rides,” Annika laughed. “Other than that, we get along really great.”
And on a volleyball court, you could say they seem to play with ice in their veins.
“Especially when we play White River,” Ferguson said.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677