As Andover Girls Volleyball’s libero, Co-Captain Michelle Brunetti ’23 embraces positive energy both on and off the court. Whether it be giving pep talks before each practice or inspiring confidence and excitement in teammates during games, Brunetti constantly searches for ways to help her teammates.
Mary Lord ’24 noted that she had been taking inspiration from Brunetti long before she became captain. Even as an underclassman, Brunetti led by example and served as a good role model for the team.
“My first impression of Michelle during freshman year, when I knew she had been on varsity for a while was how good she was, because she’s always been a super good libero. It was really cool to see, as a freshman, her picking up all those balls and being so impressed by her skill,” said Lord.
Brunetti started playing volleyball at five years old, later joining a club team at eight. Involved in both volleyball and gymnastics as a child, when she had to pick between the two, Brunetti chose to pursue volleyball.
“My sister played [volleyball], and I would get bored at her tournaments and just started to play with a volleyball against the wall until eventually a coach asked me if I wanted to join a club team when I was eight…. My favorite aspect of volleyball is that there [was] always something going on and that I was always moving… I was always doing something, and it was very exciting.” said Brunetti.
According to Saraya Angboza ’25, Brunetti has a laser focus and strong mentality that has served to quickly recenter the team after bad plays.
Angboza said, “[Brunetti’s] defining characteristics definitely include how determined, resilient, and kind she is. On the court, she’s always flying everywhere to make an incredible save, and even if our team has a bad play or one of us messes up or she shanks a ball, she’s able to quickly brush it off. In a sport like volleyball, it’s so important to be able to let go of mistakes and move onto the next point. With that in mind, she’s always someone you can go talk to; I’m really glad we have a player like Michelle on the team.”
According to Karisa Bockley ’23, Brunetti is good at taking authority on the court and strategizes with the team’s best interest in mind. Bockley recalls last year’s Andover-Exeter game as her favorite moment playing alongside Brunetti.
“My favorite moment with Michelle on the court has to be last year’s Andover-Exeter game when we took the first set off Exeter and the whole team was so excited and energetic. I had never seen Michelle so excited and playing next to her we were so confident and it felt like we were playing on cloud nine,” said Bockley.
Brunetti explained that her teammates’ potential is one of her key motivators. According to Brunetti, the team has improved tremendously throughout the season, and she hopes to continue that trend.
“I want to be a leader that pushes people. I see a lot of potential in the team. Last year, we didn’t really have a successful season, but this year, we’ve kind of turned it around. Even now, we’re starting to play more together and players have been getting better every single practice. Because I see the potential of everyone on the team, I just know that everyone can keep pushing and keep improving,” said Brunetti.
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