Three years ago, Bryaunea Hall still had never touched a volleyball.
Once she did, however, it quickly became crystal clear she was a natural.
Despite being formally introduced to the sport as a sophomore, Hall rapidly adapted, becoming a force for the Lady Bulldawgs as she helped the team win consecutive District 8-5A championships during her junior and senior seasons.
Copperas Cove won a school-record 40 matches in 2013. Hall ranked second on the team in kills and blocks with 415 and 186, respectively. Additionally, she was named the all-district most valuable hitter and landed on the Texas Sports Writers Association’s All-State Team.
“She is unique in the fact that she didn’t really want to learn volleyball when she first started playing,” Lady Bulldawgs head coach Cari Lowery said. “She fought me last year on the kind of player I thought she could be and how great and awesome I thought she could be. But this year, she bought in and it changed everything for her and our team.”
Hall’s whirlwind journey culminated Wednesday morning as she signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Incarnate Word University during a joint signing ceremony at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
How does it feel to make things official?
It feels amazing.
What made Incarnate Word the right place for you?
I had a lot of positives about a lot of the places I was visiting, but when I made it to San Antonio, I was just like, “This is for me! This is for me!” I knew that was where I wanted to be at. I just felt more comfortable there.
What in particular put your mind at ease about your decision?
The coaches. The campus. All the players. I went out and did stuff with the players and hung out with them the entire time. I just liked it, and it felt like my team here.
Would you have guessed four years ago that you would be playing volleyball collegiately one day?
No. No, actually, up until this year, it was stuck in my mind that I would go for basketball. Then, I was like, I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. So I decided to go for volleyball.
Coach Lowery was talking highly about your progress as a player. What have these past few years been like as you learned the sport?
It has been hectic, but at the same time, it has all been worth it. I’ve been successful. Even with all my trying to fight against it and everything, I’ve made it far, and I’ve been successful in my short amount of years.
What does it take to be able to accomplish something like that?
I’ve always had a competitive mindset, and I don’t want to lose no matter what I’m doing. So, if I’m playing, why not go ahead and make it worth it? So, I did that.
Obviously, everybody is bigger, stronger and faster at the next level. What do you need to do to be prepared for that jump in competition?
Train. Train a lot. Right now, I’ve been working on jump training, actually. So, I jump higher now than I was.
What are your thoughts about the program you are leaving behind and your time here?
It is sad, but at the same time, I know the next years will be worth it for them. They just have to work, stay competitive and get things done.
Do you think they can maintain this level of success you helped the team achieve?
Yes, with Cari Lowery coaching, everyone can maintain that.