BOZEMAN — Coaches and teammates have given Bozeman High volleyball standout senior Bria Isley the nickname "Steady Eddy."
Her calm presence and strong leadership is felt on the court every practice and game for the Hawks, who look to make a playoff run starting at the end of the week.
"I try not to freak out or anything," Isley explained how she got her nickname. "Make sure, even if we’re down by a lot or something, just calm everyone down. Be like, 'We’re OK, we got this. We’re talented. We have to stay confident.'"
Hawks coach Devin Dynan echoed how she brings a steady pace and mindset to the game for her teammates.
"She’s just a great, quiet leader, and she makes everyone around her better just by being on the court," Dynan said.
Isley started playing volleyball in the fourth grade, following in her older sister’s footsteps. Her sister is still her role model to this day.
"She got me into it," Isley said. "I used to play soccer. That was my sport, and I was going to go all for that, but my sister, she started playing volleyball, so I just followed her lead and started playing."
It's a decision that’s worked out for Isley. Her commitment to the game and her team is something that’s seen every day, and her reliability is felt throughout each game.
"She is very driven to be successful on and off the court," Dynan said. "They know she’s going to make the ball better every time she touches it. That she’s going to put the ball down the majority of times she gets a swing on it."
This past year, Isley’s teammate recommended she take up beach volleyball, in which she's found success traveling around the west coast for tournaments.
"It differs from indoor with how loud it is, too," Isley explaining the difference from beach to indoor volleyball. "(For) indoor, there’s whistles blowing, everyone’s screaming. So being more calm, I guess, and it being a summer sport, it’s just a nice easy thing to get into."
It's a sport that fits her calm demeanor.
It’s much different than traditional volleyball, but there are things from each game that can translate to the other, which her coach has seen this season with Isley.
"There’s two of you on a court (in beach volleyball), so reaction time, reading where the ball’s going to be, when it’s going to be coming over, things like that," Dynan explained. "And then I think, just sacrificing your body. You get into the habit of throwing yourself around for a ball, and it definitely translates on the floor."
She’s leaving her legacy on the Hawk program as it enters the final stretch of the season these next two weeks with divisional and state tournaments.
"The sun kind of shines around her," Dynan smiled. "She does a really good job of brightening the room when she walks in. She always has a smile on her face, and again, people just feel better when they’re around her."
Bozeman will play in the Eastern AA divisional beginning Thursday in Belgrade. The Hawks enter as a the No. 4 seed and will take on the No. 5 Billings Skyview at 2 p.m.