MOUNT VERNON — Summer Brand’s love for volleyball started at a young age.
A senior setter for the Mustangs, Brand has been involved in the game since third grade. Her mother, Robin Brand, is the junior varsity volleyball coach and the one who encouraged Summer to go out for the sport.
“If you have been out for volleyball as long as I have, you have to enjoy it,” Summer said.
Mount Vernon started the season with a game against West Delaware, one Brand said was not pretty. West Delaware won all three sets so Brand and her teammate went to work, focusing being consistent with everything. During practice, Brand worked with her hitters so they can connect with the sets she gives them. She also worked on her serves, so she can be consistent during her games.
Brand, who averages 9.8 assists per game, always is practicing to be the best she can be.
All that practice has paid off. Brand helped lead the Mustangs to a Wamac Conference title and a berth in the state tournament. The Mustangs play West Liberty today at noon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We started off the year not so great, but it has been exciting to be able to come back and win conference,” she said.
After topping Marion, another state qualifier, for the Wamac title, it was on the regionals. Mount Vernon beat Jesup and New Hampton to reach the state tournament.
“I was getting really nervous on the third set (against Jesup), but then the team came together,” said Brand.
Brand has been able to watch the high school volleyball team her entire life, looking up to the girls who played before her. The Mount Vernon volleyball team has had some great seasons throughout Brand’s lifetime.
“I want to be able to carry on the tradition of having a great season,” she said.
Brand’s favorite thing about volleyball is the team atmosphere.
“The people that are in volleyball are a huge reason why I like it so much,” she said.
Brand loves making new friends and likes hanging out with people outside of her normal friend group. Volleyball has helped her do just that.
“We do a lot of team bonding activities and fun games to get to know everyone better,” Brand said.
Brands considers herself a competitive person and loves that aspect of volleyball. She also enjoys leading the Mustangs but also has learned how to be a good teammate.
Brand will continue her volleyball career next year at Cornell College.
“I’m really excited to play at Cornell because I get to play with my old teammates Rory Light (2019) and Sydney Meeker (2017),” Brand said.
She also will be able to watch these younger Mustangs grow next year.
“My advice for other volleyball players is to just have fun because it doesn’t last forever,” Brand said.