player spotlight: #8 Charlayna Braxton


Junior volleyball player Charlayna Braxton enjoys the team aesthetic the Mercer volleyball team offers. The Powder Springs native sat down with The Cluster to answer a few questions.
Cluster: When did you first begin playing volleyball?
Braxton: I began playing volleyball in middle school. When I tried out for junior varsity in ninth grade, we had a new coach. One day she pulled me over and said, “You are playing varsity.” She saw my potential, and I have been loving volleyball ever since.
C: Did you play any other sports in high school?
B: Yes; I was really good at track. I pretty much thought that I was going to college for track. The team aspect changed that for me. In track, if you are good, you are good. In volleyball you need six people to win.
C: Before attending Mercer, you attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham; what factor made you want to make a change?
B: Definitely the team and the coach. I did not really mesh as well with the team. It was kind of like a bunch of individuals. At Mercer, I loved how the coach had so much energy and she actually loves what she does.
C: How do you feel the coaching styles differed as far as helping your game to improve?
B: She (Coach Rooke) is definitely more vibrant and excited about what she does. We still get excited and encourage each other versus just doing your job.
C: How do you prepare for a game? Do you have a pre-game ritual?
B: We usually go into our team room and we blast music really loud.
We usually play songs by LMFAO and weird techno music.
C: What is one thing that Coach Rooke has told you that has stuck with you?
B: Believe in Mercer Volleyball. Our record does not show how much work we have done. Every year she never gives up, and she keeps on [encouraging] us to be better. Although our record is 2-8, we love what we do. We represent what we do, because we know the hard work we put into it. We are not ashamed, because we know we are working hard. We beat the University of Georgia, so it shows that we are working.
C: Who are some of your favorite professional volleyball players?
B: Definitely Misty May and Kerri Walsh. I know a lot of people say that, but they are just awesome. The way they played during their college careers and played with such finesse, you can tell they are just like regular people. They still celebrate and cheer for each other. They are not so robotic and cocky.
C: What are some personal goals that you have set for yourself this season?
B: I want to be an offensive and defensive threat on the court. That is my job as a middle blocker, and that means getting a great number of blocks and kills. I want us to also make it to the conference finals, and we have a great opportunity to than ever before.

Support the Lady Bears on Sept. 23 as they take on Lipscomb in their first conference matchup of the season. It is one of two consecutive matchups versus conference opponents at home that weekend (the other being Belmont).