Brielle Mullally was eight years old when her older sister began playing volleyball for her elementary school team. Mullally would watch her at practice, and after she tried the sport herself, she found an instant connection.
“It’s always been a part of my life, and I can’t imagine it without it,” says Mullally. “I get to go out and play with my friends. It’s just something I enjoy doing.”
Mullally is a senior at Mater Dei High School and plays setter opposite for the Monarchs, which allows her to be involved in all aspects of play.
“I like it because I get to do everything,” says the 18-year-old. “I really enjoy setting. That’s my primary position—running the court and deciding what plays are going to happen. But I also like attacking and being able to get the big points when they need to happen.”
Mullally finished her high school career as a three-time CIF-SS champion (2015, 2017, 2018) and, most recently, a CIF State Open Division champion, as she helped lead her team past Central of Fresno in straight sets for the program’s first state title. The Monarchs finished the 2018 season with a 43-2 record and a No. 1 national ranking from MaxPreps.com.
“Brielle has always been a winner,” says Mater Dei girls volleyball head coach, Dan O’Dell. “She is incredibly smart and has a great volleyball IQ, which enables her to find ways to exploit the other team. Couple that with her all around setting and hitting talents, and it’s no wonder she is playing a major role on the top team in California.”
Despite the team’s winning ways, Mullally has faced challenges in her volleyball career, including recovering from an injury last season. Teamwork and responsibility rank high on the list when it comes to lessons learned.
“Even if you’re not getting along with everybody, you need to respect them as an individual,” says Mullally. “When the game starts, you still have the same goal, and you need to work together and understand the commitment each of you has to the sport.”
Away from competition, the Garden Grove resident enjoys baking for family and friends. She and her team participate annually in Mater Dei’s volleyball camps for middle schoolers and incoming freshmen. And next fall, Mullally is headed east to Providence College where she will continue her volleyball career and study business.
Prayer is a key component in how Mullally prepares for each match, as it helps her, “get into the mindset that we need.” She considers her setting coach, Debbie Green, and her mother to be prominent role models in her life.
“She’s always there for me and always has my back,” says Mullally of her mom. “I want to be able to be like that when I’m older and care for whoever is relying on me.”