Freeman returns to court, sets example for her team

Freeman+returns+to+court%2C+sets+example+for+her+team

Eileen Martin/ Guilfordian

“Brittany Freeman is the ideal student athlete for Guilford,” said head volleyball coach Emily Gann.

The 5’11” senior outside hitter is considered a star on and off the court by her coaches and teammates.

“She gets involved in things other than athletics, but she’s still very committed,” Gann said. “She’s figured out how to be both a student and an athlete successfully.”

When it was time to decide her college path, Freeman decided on a different route than that of most successful high school athletes.

“I come from competitive volleyball up in the Asheville area, so I probably could have gone for the first or second division schools,” Freeman said. “But I chose Guilford because they value academics over athletics.”

Freeman played as a first-year at Guilford, but after her sophomore campaign, she decided to take a break from athletics.

“At the time, I wanted to focus on school and the culture,” Freeman said. “I needed time to adjust to the school.”

And the choice seemed to pay off. Freeman will graduate in December with a double major in history and political science.

As her senior year rolled around, she yearned to show her talents on the court once again.

“This was my first year playing with Freeman,” said sophomore teammate Marinda Popp. “I had a great experience with her.

“She’s a real team player. When we aren’t doing drills, we’re all hanging out and having fun.”

Freeman proved to teammates that she could be trusted when it was time to perform as a teammate and friend.

“I’ve never played with anyone like her before,” said sophomore Maile Munro. “I think it’s brought a new level to my game and a new understanding to how teammates should act.”

During the offseason, Freeman voluntarily practiced with the team for hours during the week.

“I said to her, ‘You want to help, why wouldn’t you want to play?’” Gann said.

Freeman said she was worried about fitting back in with the team, which turned out to be the least of her problems.

“This group of girls encourages me to be who I am and play how I play,” said Freeman. “They accept this slight abrasiveness I have, and I enjoy them outside the court.

“I never played on a team of girls who are as a kind and accepting.”

And she was not just accepted but also admired by her team.

“It’s actually inspiring to hear her talk about leaving and finding the passion, strength and will to come back,” said Munro.

Freeman said it was not just the team who had developed.

“I’ve changed a lot in two years,” said Freeman. “I coached and learned some more aspects of being a team player and not just a star player.

“Plus, I’m 22, and I’m married now.”

But does that make a difference on the court?

“It’s like, ‘Brittany, girl, you’re still just like us,’” said Munro. “We’re all sprinting for the ball.”

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