By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Belton Lady Tigers’ volleyball standout Brey York has done great things in her time in Belton red-and-white.
She has been a huge boost to the Lady Tiger Volleyball program in the past three years and has been a floor general with her leadership over the past two seasons.
She capped her senior year with another District 12-6A First Team honor and her second consecutive team Most Valuable Player Award.
After quite a few options, York made her decision to play NCAA Division I Volleyball for head coach Jocelyn Adams at Texas Southern University in Houston.
York becomes the second player from the 2015 team (senior class of 2016) to commit to play Division I Volleyball, joining middle hitter Allison Waits who signed with the University of Incarnate Word in November. UIC plays in the Southland Conference.
The TSU Tigers were 16-19 overall in 2015 and play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), winning the West Conference with a 7-2 conference mark against the likes of Southern, Prairie View A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling State, Jackson State, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Mississippi Valley and Alcorn State.
“They know how to win,” York said. “They are very disciplined and play together.”
York, the three-year spark plug for the Lady Tigers, led the team in 2015 with 325 assists, had 466 hit attempts, 70 blocks, 414 serves, 34 aces and 199 kills for a 50 percent kill percentage.
More importantly her work in the community and role for Belton Athletics, York is asset for Belton High School.
“I went to a few schools, actually, and spoke with them,” York said. “I had about five or six options. Texas Southern just stood out to me. They are all about community, unity and family. It’s not too far from home, but not too close either. My parents will get the chance to come and watch me play.”
York visited Georgia State University in Atlanta and Abilene Christian University before making the tough decision. She will major in biology.
Belton head coach Stacy Meyers has been close to York in her growth, not only as an athlete and a volleyball play, but as a young leader.
“Coach Meyers really has taught me the meaning of leadership and accountability,” York said. “Being a leader isn’t always a popular job. It’s about understanding your role as that I have since I have been here. Obviously, doing the right thing all of the time is important, but it more important to be the best leader and example to the team. She expects awesome things from us and we go out and try and do awesome things for her.”
Being in Meyers’ program throughout high school and through the spring semester of her eighth grade year, York has had the benefit of being in Meyers’ system during that time.
“The continuity and consistency of coach’s program has been there throughout,” York said. “We have had different leaders on the floor. Kinsey Williams was one of the best leaders I ever played with and McKinzee Robinson took right over after she graduated. They knew coach’s expectations as leaders and carried the tasks out. I did my best to carry that on.”
“Kinsey was one of the best leaders that I have ever coached on the floor,” Meyers said. “McKinzee was right there as well. Brey was one of best setters that I have ever coached.”
Faith and family are two parts of York’s life that are very important. She was baptized last month in Salado.
“My struggle was knowing that God’s plan is greater than mine,” York said. “Having patience dealing with playing for the past year and a half, being the middle of my senior year and being near graduation, I put my faith in God and knowing he has a plan for me.”
Two of the traits that Belton head coach Stacy Meyers instills in her athletes is mental toughness and accountability. York had been that go-to person, a variable buffer between Meyers and the team. York’s attention to detail in both areas made her value in Meyers’ program has been remarkable.
“It was a little difficult at first,” York said. “But after some time, I realized that it wasn’t personal. I didn’t realize it until the end of my junior season that I had to acknowledge that it wasn’t personal; she knew my potential and she was doing it for my better interests. It was nice to be that person, knowing that I was in control of what was going on. My teammates have been great and so supportive.”
Having a young team in 2015, there were only a handful of returners. Knowing this, York and her senior teammates were looked upon to carry the torch of leadership and examples of how to do things to Meyers’ expectation.
The Gatesville Spring Volleyball League, the Centex Summer League and the select teams that York played for, Waco Juniors and the Eclipse out of Leander, paved the way for York to make strides down the stretch of her career that led to her choosing college volleyball as her path into adulthood.
“Gatesville and Centex were awesome facets to establish leadership skills and get accustomed to who you would play with later in the season,” York said. “Club volleyball is an awesome thing, actually, as playing with the Waco Juniors and Eclipse have been a great place to get better.”
York is an anomaly, as with seniors that will neither play volleyball nor athletics in general will schedule out of the athletic period. York has stayed in the period.
“She uses the period not only to stay in shape, but set the tone for the other athletes that are in the athletic period to keep working,” Meyers said. “She is still with the girls.”
“It is difficult because I am the only senior still with the team,” York explained. “I want to pass my leadership on to people, but they continue to rely on me. I’m trying to send the message to keep working and don’t hold back.”
York’s family has meant a great deal to her. Traveling all over Texas and flying to different places in the United States, York is very thankful for the support of her family.
“I just want to thank my parents for what they have done for me and what they have meant to me,” York said. “They have made it possible for me to be in the situation that I am in now. To have a scholarship to play volleyball and study at the collegiate level is amazing. It is great to have parents that truly care and are there for me.”
Meyers had plenty of high praise for York. Always honest and never pulling punches, Meyers watched York grow into the great leader that others in the program look up to.
“Brey is one of the best setters that I have ever coached and is one of the best leaders as well,” Meyers said. “She has grown from the personality of wanting to be a leader and learning how to be a leader to watching her being a leader at work. We have had tough conversations, knowing what she is wanting to do, but teaching her that there is a better way to do it. She has learned, and has wanted to learn, how to be a team player and a leader so that things are not about her, but about her teammates. It was never about ‘Brey’, it has been all about ‘We’. It’s not always the easiest thing to do.”