Q&A: High School Volleyball Star Brittany McLean Excited for Collegiate Career with U

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Nov 3, 2008
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Q&A: High School Volleyball Star Brittany McLean Excited for Collegiate Career with U

Q&A: High School Volleyball Star Brittany McLean Excited for Collegiate Career with Gophers
By Chris Monter


Brittany McLean, 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Rosemount (MN) High, was recently named Minnesota Miss Volleyball. McLean helped the Irish to a 24-56 mark, losing to Prior Lake in the Class AAA Section 3 finals 3-2

Gopher Hole caught up with McLean Friday to learn the latest on signing with Minnesota and her senior season.

Gopher Hole: You signed with Minnesota. What was the feeling like to finally have that done with when you signed your paper work last week?

Brittany McLean: The first initial reaction was relief because it has been a long two years through the recruiting process. Getting through each visit and to finally pick Minnesota and knowing that I am set and don't have to worry about anything else. I'm accepted. I'm in. It is awesome and once that set in, I got really excited because I took my official visit right after I signed and it was exciting to see and feel "like wow, I am going to be here next year and be a part of this" and when they beat Penn State, that was cool to see how they prepared before the match. How they did during the match and what it like afterwards and wow, I can be a part of that next year.

Gopher Hole: I know that you have been committed for a while. When did you commit to Minnesota?

Brittany McLean: May of my sophomore year.

Gopher Hole: The program has always been very good, but they are having great success this year after an inconsistent season last year after losing seniors Wittman and Dixon. Does that make it even more special knowing that you are joining a program that is on the rise and ranked third in the country and just beat the number one team in the country?

Brittany McLean: Yes. I can definitely say that they are such a good volleyball team and everyone is saying that I am going to such a good program. I was always supportive of them when they were not as strong. I thought that they were a program on the rise and even though they were young last year, all their hard work and effort definitely paid off this year. I am not going to be one of the bandwagon people. I didn't jump on the bandwagon went they got good. I always supported them even when they were bad.

Gopher Hole: As good as they are this year, they might even be better next season because the only will lose one senior who plays extensive minutes, Daly Santana, who is one of the team's best players, right?

Brittany McLean: Losing her is a huge loss, obviously because she is such a great player, but I feel like with the girls that they do have and all the freshmen coming in that we can fill the hole.

Gopher Hole: Have they talked to you much about what your role will be next year as a freshman yet?

Brittany McLean: We have not gotten into specifics, but I know whatever role they have for me that I am going to try to do the best I can to fill that role and if that includes playing time, hopefully I'll make a difference, but we'll have to see when I get there.

Gopher Hole: You are going to be playing for a coach, Hugh McCutcheon, who has not only coached in college and had success there, but has also coached the Men's Olympic team and the Woman's Olympic team. What does it mean to play for a coach like that?

Brittany McLean: It actually feels like I am going to learn so much. One of the reasons that I was interested in the "U" was because of Hugh and his philosophy. One of the things that I love about him is how real he is with the girls and even before the Penn State match, he was saying that it was just another match and it is not going to be the end of the world if you lose and it is not going to be the end of the world, if you win, so to have him and his philosophy and his wisdom, to have to listen to that every day, is going to be awesome. I can't wait to play for him.

Gopher Hole: Have you done any international competitions? Is that something that you would like to do down the road?

Brittany McLean: My 16th year, our club volleyball team took us to a tournament in Croatia, so I got exposed to international play there and we won the tournament, which was really awesome and a great experience. I have been thinking about maybe doing international play, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there, because right now, it is focus on finishing high school and going onto college.

Gopher Hole: Obviously, since you committed to Minnesota when you were a sophomore, were you even hearing from any other colleges lately or did most of the other colleges drop off once you picked the Gophers?

Brittany McLean: Once I verbally committed, it kind of stopped. I kept in contact with the coaches that I was in contact with. I verbally committed and then usually by that time, all the recruitment stopped. It got really quiet after that.

Gopher Hole: Was that nice that you didn't have to deal with the stuff that you would have had to if you hadn't committed so early?

Brittany McLean: Yes. The recruiting process was definitely like another job. It is a lot of work and seeing the decision that I made, I can take that experience and put it in my back pocket for the rest of my life. It is nice to be done with, to be honest.

Gopher Hole: You talked about the Penn State game. It was sellout and they were playing the number one team in the country and ended up sweeping them. What was that atmosphere like and what was it like to be there, not only as a future player, but also as a fan?

Brittany McLean: As a fan, it was great. Just watching them play as a team and shut Penn State down, who has been the king of volleyball forever. As a future player, it just showed me what I'll be experiencing. The atmosphere was insane. There were pompoms everywhere. It was just very exciting to be a part of that night.

Gopher Hole: Does an atmosphere like that make you even more excited about being part of the team next year?

Brittany McLean: Absolutely, yes.

Gopher Hole: You had an excellent senior season. Unfortunately, you are in a tough section and a tough conference, where you played the two teams that were in the state championship game, Prior Lake and Eagan. You wanted to make it to state, but how pleased were you with your senior season?

Brittany McLean: I wouldn't have wanted to end the season any other way. Yes, we fell short, but we put everything out onto the court and to be a part of that team that had a chance to win the conference title, had a chance to going to state, set school records, had an overall record as a team. It was awesome. It was probably the best year of volleyball that I ever experienced at Rosemount.

Gopher Hole: You won quite a few awards. You were on the All-Metro team and won the Minnesota Ms. Volleyball Player of the Year and the Ms. Baden Volleyball Player of the Year by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association. What was the feeling getting those type of accolades as a senior?

Brittany McLean: It was kind of like bittersweet, I guess. The All-Metro team was an honor because the other girls on the team are such nice people. I was nice to be with them and have fun at the photo shoot. Ms. Volleyball, I wasn't expecting it. The Minnesota State Volleyball Coaches Association recognized me as Ms. Volleyball. It was an honor. It gave me the opportunity to make that everyone knew who I was grateful for at the banquet, I got to thank my parents and my coaches who helped me to get to this point in my life. You can't really dwell on it, to be honest. You just have to try to get better.

Gopher Hole: You have been playing volleyball for a long time. Where did you get the love of the game?

Brittany McLean: I first watched my cousin play for her club team down in Illinois. That was when we got exposed to it and then I started signing up for our AAA, our community league. I pretty much owe volleyball to my cousin, Morgan.

Gopher Hole: Have you really played many other sports at all? I know that volleyball in such an intensive sports with club volleyball and summer volleyball?

Brittany McLean: As a young third grader¸ I tried basketball, cheerleading and soccer, but none of them really fit, so volleyball was the best and only sport for me so far.

Gopher Hole: Have you thought much about what you are going to major in at college?

Brittany McLean: I haven't thought the specifics, but I have wanted to become a physical therapist and have a hands-on job. I really like the medical field and being around people, so maybe communications. I'm really not sure, so I guess that I am undecided, but I can't declare a major quite yet.

Gopher Hole: When you look back at your high school career, what is going to stand out as some of the highlights?

Brittany McLean: In my high school career, it would definitely be, beating Prior Lake in conference play. We weren't expected to win and it was just so awesome to be part of the team, because they are like so together. Even though we lost, I would say the Eagan match also, because previously in the conference match, we got swept by Eagan. We played really bad, so to come out and make Eagan sweat a little bit was fun and to have the support of the community there. There were a lot of people there. To be with my team as a senior, these girls made this year that much more memorable and valuable to me, so all the team sleepovers and the team dinners that we did is definitely a high point.

Sounds like the pipeline continues for Hugh! Love an early commit like this that sticks to it. Welcome Brittany.

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