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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Volleyball

UH setter expects to set tempo for next season


Amber Brooks is to UH volleyball what Case Keenum is to UH football — minus all the recognition. Like a quarterback, her position as setter handles 90 percent of balls played on the court. Because she is the player in between the passer and hitter, every decision she makes has to be consistent. Some athletes, like Brooks, are made for the job.

“It’s definitely mental — thinking about so many things at once. At the same time, I love the pressure. I love the situation and being the one that my team relies on to get the job done,” Brooks said.

This season, Brooks tallied 1,258 assists. Her style is most noticeable on the court with unstoppable service aces and constant motion on the front line. Brooks also brought prestige to the Cougars when she was named C-USA Setter and Co-Setter of the Week, an honor she credits to the whole team.

“It’s definitely a team thing and they definitely make me look good no matter what I do,” she said.

Brooks fits well into the Cougar family. Junior middle blocker and team captain Lucy Charuk agrees that she is a plus for the team.

“I think she’s done really well coming in as a transfer to a new team and probably a different system than what she is used to,” Charuk said. “She’s adapted well and taken to our new system and criticisms.”

Born in Alvin, this season is actually Brook’s first at UH. For the past two years, she played as setter for the University of Texas at San Antonio. With the arrival of head coach Molly Alvey, Brooks decided to try UH.

Brooks has known Alvey, the Cougar’s first-year head coach, since high school. Like Brooks, Alvey specializes in the setter position, so Brooks was able to receive the correct setter training she needed. Alvey believes in Brook’s ability to grow as a setter.

“Amber has improved tremendously,” Alvey said. “I’ve put a lot of demands on her and have probably changed her perspective of the game and how court management goes.”

Brooks has been up to the challenge since middle school. She started playing club volleyball in fifth grade. Coming from a sports family, she already played softball and soccer. Visiting the UH gym at age twelve and playing there now inspires Brooks to encourage younger girls to pursue the game. Volleyball became a passion for Brooks then and has now solidified her future career path.

“I would say there are certain things I will do 110 percent with my whole heart and soul — volleyball is one of those things,” Brooks said. “I knew when I was 11 that I was going to college for volleyball. I said, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”

After graduating with a degree in kinesiology, Brooks’ goal is to become a Division I volleyball coach in the fashion of many setters before her.

“I think it’s easier for them (setters) to translate into coaching,” Brooks said. “I have to know where everyone is at all times. You have to know and make sure your team is all organized.”

Until then, Brooks has her final year as setter to look forward to.

“I think my senior year is going to be even better than what we are doing now. It’s going to be a really good season and something that the future girls can build from.”

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