Connally twins sign to play volleyball at Texas A&M-Commerce
Volleyball players Breann and Brandi Connally are a package deal. The twins have always been together. So, when it came time to choose a college, there was no question they would continue playing together at the next level.
The Connally twins signed letters of intent to play volleyball at Texas A&M-Commerce. The signing took place Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Groesbeck High School gym.
Breann will be a setter and right-side hitter, and Brandi will be an outside hitter.
A coach of one of their club volleyball teams alerted A&M-Commerce that the 6-foot twins might make a good addition to the program. The college contacted them. The duo went on an official campus visit in March.
“We are going to major in animal science, so we toured the animal science department,” Breann said. “And we toured all the sports and medicine and all that. And we practiced with them that morning.”
Asked how the practice went, Breann responded, “Great. We fit in pretty well.”
Breann and Brandi have played at a high level throughout their high school careers, first at Mart and then at Groesbeck the past two years. Still, there will be a transition to a higher level of competition.
“I think the transition will be both smooth and bumpy,” Brandi said. “There are going to be a lot of girls there, so we’re gong to have to play our hardest every time we step on the court, which is something we already try to do. I think it will be a great transition.”
The duo spends a great deal of time on the volleyball court. They play year round. After the fall high school season, they have played on club teams since they were 10 years old.
But they grew up around volleyball from the time they were toddlers. Their mom, Laurie, was a volleyball coach at Mart. And their older sister, Britney, played in high school.
“Our older sister played,” Brandi said. “But then, our mom has always been a volleyball coach, so we kind of always spent two-a-days with her and we would play around in the gym while she was coaching her other girls.”
And did the young twins get to scrimmage with the high school girls?
“No, we kind of stayed to the side,” Brandi said. “We were pretty young, pretty small, so we just kind of stayed to the side and did our own thing.”
The volleyball was to be played with on the court and outdoors. Never inside. Still, Breann and Brandi couldn’t help themselves from hitting the ball in the house sometimes.
“We got yelled at plenty for that,” Brandi said with a smile. “We never broke anything, but we got yelled at.”
When the twins began playing organized volleyball, they were taller than the other girls.
“It took a while for us to get used to our height, because we were always very tall compared to most other kids,” Brandi said. “So, that took a little bit of transitioning. But we stuck to it and practiced every day.”
Then they grew six inches during one summer when they were in junior high and they continued their yearround development on the volleyball court. The girls say there was never any sibling rivalry between them.
“We’ve always played different positions, so we never really had to fight each other for our spot,” Breann said.
Ironically, Breann and Brandi weren’t dreaming of playing volleyball in college when they were youngsters. It wasn’t until they were forced to sit out a good portion of their junior year after moving to Groesbeck that playing in college became more of a priority.
“We knew we wanted to play,” Breann said. “We never really decided, ‘Oh, we want to go play in college.’ Last year when we transferred here, we had problems with the UIL and had to sit out and just watch our team for 26 games. That’s when we decided we can’t just stop after this year. We weren’t even allowed on the bench. So, we had to sit in the stands and watch our team.
“We didn’t get approved until about halfway through the season right before district started. It was very hard to sit in the bleachers and just watch when we knew we could be helping on the court.”
That time sitting out as juniors motivated the twins to make the most of their senior season.
Brandi said, “We felt like if we were going to play, this would be our last (high school) year and we felt like we had to leave everything on the court every time. It was more, us not getting to play (junior year), we knew we didn’t want that to happen again.”
The twins have spent countless hours on the volleyball court throughout their lives. That’s been the key to their development.
“I would say probably working hard every time on the court,” Breann said. “And since we never really had an offseason, we were continuously getting better. We only had a month or two off, so we would always be playing, always be in the gym.”
Brandi spoke of what it takes to get to the next level of competition, and advice she would give a young girl who wants to follow in the Connally twins’ footsteps.
“No one can keep you from that,” she said. “If you believe yourself you can do that, you have to get in the gym and work hard for it. It’s not going to be handed to you.”
Brandi and Breann are the daughters of Brad and Laurie Connally.