On Sept. 22, the women’s volleyball team defeated Case Western Reserve University in four sets to secure its first UAA win of the season and head coach Andrew Brown’s 100th win as an NCAA Division III head coach. Prior to joining NYU in January 2018, Brown coached the Union College women’s volleyball team to a 66-38 overall record. Following the Violets’ results this past weekend, Brown’s overall NCAA Division III coaching record now sits at 101 wins and 54 losses.
The season prior to Brown’s arrival at NYU, the Violets posted a mediocre 7-20 overall record. In Brown’s first season, the team improved to 22-16 and looks to be taking another step up this year — the Violets are currently 13-4.
“When I first got here, the big thing I was able to see with the current team and their trend was that we had really talented players within the program,” Brown said. “But there wasn’t a cohesive style of volleyball.”
Ranked fourth in Division III for blocking, NYU has shifted its focus to defensive efficiency, which Brown emphasized when he first arrived.
“Big emphasis was on being very physical at the net, being a very dominant blocking team, to have a lot more offensive firepower at the front row and having a really good defense, where it was really hard for an opponent to score a point in terms of our effort and our relentlessness,” Brown said.
This physical style of play has established the Violets’ reputation as a gritty team, according to team co-captain and CAS junior Jacqueline Kupeli.
“When we walk into the gym now, regardless of the tournament, people know who we are,” Kupeli said. “They know we’re serious. They know we’re competitive, and that we’re a challenge.”
However, Brown’s focus isn’t solely on winning games. He also wants to help his players excel off the court.
“The thing that’s really special about this school is they are able to take advantage of so much opportunity,” Brown said. “Being able to have volleyball as a piece that they can excel in, is something special for them.”
This has translated to academic success — last year, 10 members of Brown’s squad received UAA Fall Sport All-Academic honors, leading the team to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.
“He has his own experiences as a student-athlete that really shape his coaching and he really does care about us holistically,” co-captain and Steinhart senior Sabrina Krebs said. “He really wants us to succeed.”
With his 100th win behind him, Brown wants to cap off this season with one more milestone — snagging an NCAA postseason berth.
“We want to push and make it to a post-NCAA appearance this year,” Brown said. “I think it’s going to be tough, but I think our players are really up for that challenge this year.”
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Sept. 30, print edition. Email Bin Cho at [email protected]