Collegiate Graduate Reaching New Heights at University of Denver

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Competitive On and Off The Volleyball Court

(CEDAR HILL, TX) Briana Green has never backed down from a challenge.

The 2019 Collegiate High School Graduate balanced her college-level courses, while competing for both the Cedar Hill High School Volleyball Team and her club team, 360 Volleyball.

“There were some days, we would have to go to Cedar Valley College and then go straight to practice or a game,” said Green, who plays middle blocker for the University of Denver Volleyball Team. “I knew how to organize myself and what to be prepared for in college.”

Because Green gained enough college credits in high school, she earned an Associate’s Degree in Science. She may be a sophomore on the volleyball court, but academically, she’s a senior.

That will help her begin a Master’s Degree Program at Denver before her volleyball eligibility is complete. She’s expected to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism sometime in 2021.

It was that same approach to a challenge that helped Green last fall when the Pioneers reached the NCAA Tournament with a 23-9 record.

Their opponent? The eventual NCAA Champion Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto, California.

“Going against #1 was fun,” Green said. “A lot of people shy away from that challenge, but my teammates and I stood up to it. We knew they were the top team, but we decided to make them work for it.”

Stanford prevailed, but the experience is something that Green and her teammates won’t soon forget.

Adjusting to the Pandemic

For the first time since seventh grade in 2013, Green faces a fall without volleyball matches. The COVID-19 Pandemic forced the Summit League, of which Denver is a member, to postpone volleyball to the spring of 2021.

“With the whole season being pushed back, it was hard,” Green said. “There are teams when we wonder ‘are we even going to have a season?’ That was an uneasy time. Now, we have something to work toward. It’s been easier, and now we have more time to focus on individual skills.”

The Pioneers still practice each Wednesday and Friday. They are in two separate cohorts, until they can practice as a complete team, beginning on October 12.

When the Pandemic started in March, Green returned to Cedar Hill and took online classes. She returned to Denver in June.

Volleyball Success

Green moved to Cedar Hill from Dallas as a first grader, enrolling at High Pointe Elementary.

“Cedar Hill ISD was always engaging and fun in my opinion,” Green said. “The teachers that I had really catered to the scholars. Everyone has a chance to learn. I am a visual learner, so they did a lot to cater to that.”

After West Intermediate, she went to Bessie Coleman Middle School where seventh graders are asked to choose two sports.

Basketball and volleyball were Green’s choices, and they’re still her favorite sports. One day she hopes to be a professional broadcaster for both sports.

In eighth grade, one of Green’s coaches at Bessie Coleman introduced her to the possibility of playing club volleyball. She liked that idea.

By her freshman year in high school, Green had a choice of competing in both sports or becoming laser-focused on one.

She chose volleyball and never looked back.

A three year member of the varsity team, she led the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in blocks and led the Lady Longhorns to three consecutive playoff appearances.

How She Chose Denver

Colleges began to take notice of the 6-foot-1 middle blocker’s abilities. Denver was the first to express interest. Later on, Southeastern Conference programs such as Mississippi State and South Carolina recruited Green.

But there was something about the friendliness and culture of the Denver program.

“I visited multiple times, fell in love with their coaching staff, the team and Denver as a whole,” said Green, who was named to the Summit League All-Freshmen Team last fall.

Although she thoroughly enjoys being in Colorado’s capital city, there’s been a few adjustments to the climate.

“Last year, it snowed on my birthday (October 10), and I was not ready for that,” Green said. “I don’t know how to drive in snow. I walk everywhere when it snows. It’s really pretty when it does snow – it looks like the way snow looks in the movies.”

Green, who is the only Texan on the roster, said adjusting to the elevation was seamless.

“After the first day, everything was fine,” Green said. “You really have to stay hydrated.”

Last fall, Green registered career highs of 10 blocks against Montana and nine kills vs. South Dakota State.

She has a chance to become one of the best middle blockers in the Summit League when competition begins in the spring.

“I love being a middle blocker because you own the net,” Green said. “You have control that other hitters don’t have. You have that dominance when you’re in the middle, and you call the shots.”

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