Volleyball’s Maria Brown having strong sophomore year

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Volleyball’s Maria Brown having strong sophomore year

Sophomore Maria Brown is an outside hitter for the Eastern volleyball team. Brown has 130 kills and 109 digs on the season.

Sophomore Maria Brown is an outside hitter for the Eastern volleyball team. Brown has 130 kills and 109 digs on the season.

Sean Hastings

Sophomore Maria Brown is an outside hitter for the Eastern volleyball team. Brown has 130 kills and 109 digs on the season.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Sophomore Maria Brown is an outside hitter for the Eastern volleyball team. Brown has 130 kills and 109 digs on the season.

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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Eastern volleyball sophomore outside hitter Maria Brown has contributed to her team much more this season in her second year at Eastern.

Brown has almost matched her totals from last year with at least 12 matches remaining in 2015.

As a freshman, Brown saw action in 22 matches and 73 sets throughout the year.

During that time, she earned 142 kills, 106 digs and scored 162.5 points for the Panthers’ offense.

Brown started her freshman year by only playing in the front row, but she was eventually moved to the back row where she said she had more success once she got used to it.

Brown has played in 50 sets this season and has already killed 130 balls, just 12 short of matching her total from last season. Brown has already passed her 2014 digs total with 109 this year. She has also scored 150.5 points in the 50 sets she has played so far this year.

She is not as tall as most hitters on a volleyball court, but she has found ways to still have success.

“I’m a shorter hitter,” Brown said. “So I have to work on my jump, it really makes up for it. We’ve been doing a lot of work with Coach Brown in the weight room, like conditioning and stuff which you can tell makes a huge difference.”

Since she does not have the really tall height as most hitters do, she said she is not able to put the ball down.

Eastern coach Sam Wolinski said that Brown is able to bring energy to the floor by the way she plays being an “undersized hitter.”

“She’s an undersized outside for us and she serves an OH1, but she jumps out of the gym,” Wolinski said. “She has worked on becoming a smart hitter.”

Wolinski said that she will put her against the tallest blockers of the other team, because she believes she can get the job done.

Although Brown has delivered more this season in getting kills, she is also relied on to get digs pretty often as well.

Getting better with digs is something that Brown has also worked on this year.

On defense, Brown has been working on making better movements and trying to stay quicker, which conditioning has helped with.

Brown has attributed all her success to the old fashion way of just working hard in practice every day and also just having confidence in herself.

“Confidence has always been more of a head game with me,” Brown said. “I’ve been focusing more this year on keeping my head up and confidence and getting past one mistake and moving on to the next. I can tell I’m playing a lot better when I do that.”

Wolinski has also noticed the increased confidence and how it has led to Brown being more consistent on the floor for them.

“She has a lot more confidence in her ability to pass and play defense in addition to being an attacker for us in the front row,” Wolinski said. “Where I think she has really grown is she takes care of her controllables.”

Brown was recruited by former coach Kate Price and only played one year under her until Wolinski came in with assistant coach Peter Green.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking because you don’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “At first I was nervous, because it was hard but when Sam (Wolinski) and Peter (Green) came in they’ve been doing a great job and have made the transition easier. So it hasn’t been hard at all. It’s been great actually.”

Brown said it has been great how the communication and interaction have been with Wolinski. Wolinski brought in a new style of offense and did a great job of letting Brown and the rest of the Panthers know what was going to happen.

“With this change, they’re both great coaches, but they both have different philosophies in their coaching.”

Wolinski and Green’s style of offense is much faster than last season, which was more defense based.

Brown had to work on hitting faster-paced set compared to hitting high sets to be able to work in the fast-paced offense.

Brown is on pace to play many more sets than last year, and it is only a matter of time until all of her stats surpass last year’s.

Recently, senior Abby Saalfrank joined Eastern’s 1,000-point club and Brown said she would love to join Saalfrank and Chelsea Lee in that club.

 

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]