Brylee Kelly finds a home in Wichita


Lena Ahallaq /The Sunflower

Redshirt junior Brylee Kelly waits for a serve during the game against SMU at Charles Koch Arena on Nov. 25, 2021.

Through COVID 19, injuries and over 32 different teammates one thing has stayed consistent for outside hitter Brylee Kelly — Shocker volleyball.

The redshirt junior has been a member of the volleyball team for five years now and still has one remaining year of eligibility. She said she’s found a home at Wichita State. 

“You could go but the grass isn’t greener on the other side,” Kelly said. “That’s a really big thing for me. So I built what I have here, and that’s why I call this place home.”

While the Shockers team goals for this season are about having a winning season, Kelly’s are more personal.

“I think this year I want to take sort of a different role,” Kelly said. “A lot more people look up to me and I think that one of my main goals is to give better advice. I wish I would have had someone like that my freshman or sophomore year and I’m just trying to help others out.”

Kelly’s impact on her team is evident to the underclassmen. 

“If you want to play with someone who’s a good teammate, you play with Brylee Kelly,” freshman Katie Galligan said. “She’s a leader and that’s a big way I’d describe her. I’ll never forget the first day I got here, a little bit homesick, everything’s new to me and she was the first one to talk to me. She talks to everyone to hold us accountable at practice and I don’t think you can get that everywhere.”

Head coach Chris Lamb sees Kelly’s leadership impact on the team as well. 

“There’s always the lead by example, as long as people are paying attention, she makes it easy to pay attention because she’s kind of a social butterfly on the team,” Lamb said. “On your team from time to time, people are not getting to play as much as they want or something and they receive sympathy rallies. Brylee’s quick to tell people we’re not doing that here and that’s a grown-up thing to do.”

Lamb said he wants Brylee to be in the Shocker hall of fame. He said her impact will not be forgotten when her time as a Shocker comes to a close

“The standards are pretty high but not a lot of girls will have had two years as busy as what she will have by next year,” Lamb said. “Her surviving through the back row is not does not come easy. She has to work at that. She’s not low to the ground and you know, she has to be ready, focused and she has to be urgent. She has to ride the wave of knowing that a lot of times she misses some that other people get. You gotta let go.”

Lamb said other teams in the American Athletic Conference have focused on Kelly frequently in their game plan. So far this season, Kelly has 325 kills. On the defensive side of the ball, she has 42.0 blocks.

“Everybody’s gonna prepare for the team’s best outside hitter,” Lamb said. “That’s the busiest player on a team. ‘So how can you handle it?’ And she’s had to handle it. She’s had to deal with it. I’m so proud of her for that.”