JMU volleyball won in four sets against the College of Charleston in a rerun of last year’s CAA title match. Junior outside hitter Briley Brind’Amour dominated on the court, lighting up the Cougar’s defense with a bombardment of kills.
Brind’Amour recorded a staggering 19 kills with only four errors – a remarkably efficient rate. Add in the fact that she achieved such high numbers in only four sets and her stat line looks even more impressive.
“Our setter and our middle [allow me to get open for kills],” Brind’Amour said. “It’s great because I can see it, and I know they see it too. So, at the same time, [junior setter Sarah Martin] will set it and they’ll both look because they both know that it’s open. It’s a great feeling.”
It should be noted that Brind’Amour isn’t hitting easy, pitter-patter shots. When she connects with the ball, a clear boom can be heard throughout the gymnasium, and Brind’Amour never hesitates to slam shots home. Her teammates give her the confidence to go all-out because she knows if the shot gets blocked or deflected, her teammates are right behind her to dig them out.
JMU’s outside hitters love to slam the ball down and Brind’Amour is no different. According to the Dukes, the only thing better than bouncing a hard kill off the court is ripping one off an opposing player’s face.
“[The team has] a joke,” junior outside hitter Kelly Vahos said. “It’s like, ‘What time is it? Oh, it’s time to rip someone’s face off.’”
Not only is Brind’Amour powerful, she’s capable of hitting a variety of shots from difficult angles — including her signature shot, the sharp cross, which allows her to surprise her opponents and wreak havoc among opposing teams’ defenses.
The secret to Brind’Amour’s success lies in her hard work during the offseason. Teammates have noticed the work she’s put in to improve her various shots.
“I think it just goes back to spring,” libero/defensive specialist Sarah Driscoll said. “She’s been working on all of her shots: line, deep cross, sharp cross. When she came in, she was so good at sharp cross, and I think by expanding her game to hit everything it makes it really hard on the [other team’s] blockers.”
While her setters, libero and blockers all do their part to generate open shots for Brind’Amour, she also helps out her teammates. Whenever the team or a fellow Duke is struggling, Brind’Amour is there to offer reassurance and a big smile. This easygoing attitude extends to her own mistakes as well and it makes playing with Brind’Amour fun for her teammates.
“She’s a very steady player,” Driscoll said. “If she makes a mistake, she just laughs it off like ‘Alright, whatever.’ Then the next point, she almost always gets a kill. I think having that steady balance of if she makes a mistake, she can terminate right away.”
Brind’Amour and the rest of JMU volleyball returns to action on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Dukes will face UNCW and look to extend their winning streak to eight.
Contact Michael Turner at email@example.com. For more volleyball coverage, follow the Breeze sports desk on twitter @theBreezeSports.