This is the face of Mercy Athletics.
She is also the most dominant neophyte in Division II volleyball and is starting to get the league-wide recognition to accompany her heady game.
Despite being the most ferocious hitter in the East Coast Conference (she ended the season with the second most kills in the history of Mercy, a Freshman record, and led all divisions with 652 Kills on the season), Brenna White is far from intimidating off the court.
She’s polite. Considerate. Soft spoken. In fact, she doesn’t say much at all. While not in uniform, she’s far from the player who is always rallying her players while on the court.
When the whistle sounds, the beast comes out.
“I can get intense on the court,” she smiles.
Brenna’s far less smiley during the game. She’d much to prefer take set after set and punish Mercy opponents with vicious kills and unrelenting intensity. Even more impressive is that White is a two-way player, skilled as a defender (nearly 300 digs). She attributes her versatile game to her years at Douglas High School in Nevada where she wasn’t a hitter at all.
“For a while I played back row; it’s where I kind of started. Then I played a little bit of middle because I jump pretty well,” said White. “I liked the back. I enjoyed it, but then I learned how to jump.”
The 5’11 freshman from Nevada, when she isn’t destroying volleyballs and opponents, is majoring in elementary education, a decision prompted by her love for children.
“The past few summers, I worked at a camp that’s for elementary school students. I’ve always enjoyed little kids… I think they’re really fun to be with and to be around, and they made me want to be an elementary school major,” Brenna explained.
What may come as even more of a surprise coming from one of the most feared and respected athletes Mercy’s seen in a long time, is that she doesn’t spend hours on end watching professional sports. No football Sundays or late night west coast Pac-10 basketball games. The way she puts it is simple –
“I’m not that into professional sports.”
She’d much rather be hanging out and playing laser tag with friends or watching a Disney movie than filling out a March Madness bracket.
Brenna came to Mercy College on scholarship from Nevada after having been recruited by Coach Clement, who wanted the All-State First Teamer as a cornerstone to build around. She selected Mercy from a group of schools offering her a scholarship because she really liked the environment and the location.
“In fact, I just really liked everything about Mercy.”
Particularly her teammates.
Brenna and the Lady Mavericks are really good friends off the court, says White, and she praises them often for their support during her unexpected season success.
“Our off-court chemistry is really good. We all hang out with each other off the court. We’re all friendly and a very close team.
“Most of the team rooms with other volleyball players. We’re very close.”
As far as why that hasn’t translated into more wins, White has a simple answer: time.
“We’re getting there. We’re already excited for next season.”
Both White and Clement both attribute the team’s deficient win-loss record on the lack of time this diverse group of players has had to gel on the court. They’re young, adjusting to a new environment and a fresh set of teammates, but have really begun to build something special, said the coach.
“Teams are game planning for Brenna now,” says Clement. “There have been times where she’s hit into triple blocks. We’ve got to get another hitter to help Brenna out next season.”
To her credit, White has never voiced a complaint about the lack of scoring threats around her. When presented with her remarkable list of accolades: two time ECC Rookie of the Week, three honorable mentions, and Honor Roll honors, White merely deferred credit to her teammates who play “great defense behind her, make great sets, and allow her to play her game.”
The ever-modest White also sees areas in her game that need improvement, both her own game and her team’s.
“We have to work on a lot of blocking,” White admits. “Definitely the blocking, ball placement, and service errors are things we need to improve for next season. “
Clement and Brenna both expect and look to her to grow into the role of a team leader for the coming season, a captain behind whom her teammates can rally behind. And if there’s anything this future teacher ought to be good at, it’s leading.