Redshirt year proves vital for Brylee Kelly


Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State redshirt freshman Brylee Kelly goes up for a kill during the game against Wyoming on September 20, 2019 at D.J. Soko arena in Omaha, Nebraska.

Redshirt freshman Brylee Kelly has been a breath of fresh air during Wichita State volleyball’s lackluster season.

Kelly redshirted last year to gain some experience and develop as a player. She said her redshirt year was beneficial because she got to learn from other players, specifically Megan Taflinger, who also went the reshirt route two seasons ago.

“I think I got to learn a lot from the other girls, especially Megan Taflinger,” Kelly said. “I’m more aware of the court and my volleyball IQ has definitely increased. It has benefited me and allowed me to contribute to the team.”

Taflinger has blossomed into a star for the Shockers these past two seasons. Kelly has been stepping up this year.

Her contribution to the team has been crucial in the wins over Holy Cross, Hofstra, as well as the much-needed victory over Memphis. She’s also one of the few players who gave the Shockers some hope in the straight-sets loss to No. 1 Nebraska.

Kelly is top-five on the team in kills this season, despite playing in fewer matches than some of the team’s major contributors. Her 76 kills are just two behind senior Emma Wright, who has played in 21 more sets. She’s also currently second on the team with 2.17 kills per set, behind only Taflinger, who records 2.63 kills per set.

But individual stats aren’t what Kelly is focused on, she said.

“My main goal is to contribute,” Kelly said. “I want to be a contributor on the court because I know that’s what we need right now. It’s not about individual stats — it’s about what can I do to help us?”

Kelly said she’s hopeful that the team’s recent win over Memphis can help spur some momentum moving forward.

“We got a good win on Friday and lost to SMU on Sunday,” Kelly said. “I think that set us straight as we were on high hopes of having a winning streak. So I think if we put our minds to it that we need to grind this week out and get better to play this weekend to the best of our abilities.”

The Shockers (4-12) will look for their second conference at 7 p.m. Friday against Houston. The game will be played at Charles Koch Arena.