In Her Glory Days: Brianna Woods

The English teacher played competitive volleyball for seven years.



Brianna Woods played at both the JV and varsity level at Highland High School.

Justin Prakaiphetkul, Asst. Sports Editor

Following in the footsteps of her mother and aunts, Diamond Bar High School English teacher Brianna Woods discovered her lifelong passion for volleyball at an early age that still runs strong to this day.

With five of her aunts and her mother playing volleyball, Woods was exposed to the sport in elementary school. At age 10, Woods picked up a volleyball and immediately fell in love with the sport, frequently playing the game on family trips with her aunts and mother.

“All of my aunts and my mom played volleyball when they were in college and high school, so naturally it fell into my lap,” Woods said.

Woods began to play competitively during her middle school years at Hillview Middle School in Palmdale. During her time there, the team finished first in their division for three straight years.

At Highland High School in Palmdale, Woods was the starting middle blocker and would occasionally play the outside positions. During her sophomore year, Woods switched back and forth between the JV and varsity team.

“I liked varsity more cause it’s more competitive, but then it’s hard too, as sometimes you can get discouraged more easily, especially when you’re on the JV team,” Woods said. “During the few games I was bumped up to varsity, the competition was a lot stronger so more mistakes could happen, but I enjoyed it.”

To remain at her physical peak, Woods practiced up to ten hours a week outside of school. At home, Woods played volleyball on her custom made court, in which one end of the net was tied to a tree and the other end was tied to her patio wood post.

Woods’ greatest learning experience in high school stemmed from a coaching change that occurred during her sophomore year. The new coach and Woods did not see eye to eye and both argued constantly. Woods stated that the new coach showed favoritism towards certain players.

“My coach and I did not get along at all. I think she only kept me around because she realized I was somewhat of a decent player,” Woods said.

Despite the fact that Woods and her coach did not mesh well together, Woods was able to take away an important life lesson from the ordeal: to not care about the way others view you. Although Woods had the same mindset from a young age, her run-ins with the coach only strengthened this belief.

“Everyone’s going to have their favorites, and I just feel that basically, people shouldn’t go out of their way to try to be something they’re not just to please a certain person,” Woods said.

In spite of this, Woods still credits the coach for having good techniques that helped her develop as a player.

Although Woods considered joining the club volleyball team at CSU Fullerton, she decided against it. Woods decided that working would be the best use of her time, as she had to pay for her college tuition. Woods majored in English and earned her credential at the university.

Woods also played tennis as a “free-time sport.” She began to play tennis during her sophomore year and soon found the sport to be a side hobby.

Last year, Woods was named assistant tennis coach, and she went back and forth between varsity and JV throughout the season. This year, Woods was named the JV head coach.

Woods’ main takeaways from her tennis coaching experience and her playing experience in volleyball are to accept others for who they are and to work hard to succeed.

“You’re not going to get along with every person in life and that’s okay, you just have to learn to somehow work around it with people,” Woods said.