Whenever the Montclair State volleyball team takes to the court, whether it be for a game or practice, there is always one player trying to get better with each serve and spike to assist her team to victory. That player is senior Exercise Science major and defensive specialist Elise Brackett.
According to Brackett, her inspiration to continue to play volleyball comes from wanting to win, among other things. “It’s really just a drive to win,” said Brackett. “I had a great defensive coach in high school and she really pushed me to be a better player. Ever since then, I just wanted to show that I can play well.”
In 2013, Brackett appeared in 29 matches, played in 74 sets and recorded 38 digs for the season. The most remarkable moments in her sophomore career came when she posted 10 assists and six digs in a win over NYU-Poly in the Jay Street Classic on Sept. 14 and had five digs against St. Mary’s (IN) in the Hunter Invitational on Oct. 25.
In her junior season, Brackett played in 50 sets. She recorded six digs against Albertus Magnus on Sept. 13 and served three aces in a 3-0 victory over New Jersey City University on Oct. 28. Brackett also served three aces and had three digs against Ramapo College in the NJAC Tournament First Round match on Nov. 4.
Evident from her time with the Red Hawks, Brackett also expressed how proud she is to represent the University on not just an academic level, but an athletic one as well. “It’s an honor to wear the jersey every single day and represent Montclair [State], especially for our school and for our team,” said Brackett. “Our team hasn’t been recognized for anything. We don’t even have shirts in the bookstore, so we’re trying to show that we are a great team.”
At this point in the 2015 season, Brackett has played in 18 matches. She has started in eight of them, played in 59 sets and maintained a hitting percentage of .500. Brackett has also recorded .02 kills per set, .04 assists per set and .34 aces per set.
Overall, Brackett’s leadership and performance have earned her praise among both her teammates and coaches alike. “It’s been a lot of fun,” sophomore middle blocker Madison Maute said. “She’s really positive and brings a lot to the team, both on and off the court as a player. We got to know each other really well over the past two years and I really enjoy playing with her.”
“Elise came to us, playing a position she didn’t play a lot in high school and club [volleyball],” Head Coach Eddie Stawinski said. “She’s been able to adjust and adapt to changing that position and I think she’s learned and grown throughout the process of the changing of the program.”
“When we took over, the program wasn’t very successful,” said Stowinski, “and I think the last couple of years has been a turn-around. She’s been one of the ones who started with me along the way. She’s grown into a leader. She’s raised the standard of play in our gym [as well as] the expectations of everybody who comes into and plays in our gym and [for] our program. She’s done a great job just adapting to the positions we’re asking her to play and raising our level of play.”
Based on her positive experience with the Red Hawks, Brackett encourages any high school atheletes who may be thinking about playing in college to do so. “If you really enjoy the sport and you really love playing it every day, even at a rec level, it’s so worth it,” said Brackett. “If you like it, continue playing, because there is always a chance to improve your game.”