Parkite Brie Miller sees dreams realized with commitment to play Division 1 beach volleyball
Brie Miller’s journey to the top of Utah’s beach volleyball scene has been full of triumphs. But if not for a decision her mother, Lisa, made in the spring of 2018, Miller never would’ve reached the heights she’s achieved thus far.
“I can’t really express what my mom means to me and how much she’s done for me,” Miller said. “Not only did she sign me up for volleyball and beach volleyball in the first place, she believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She refused to let me quit even though at the time it’s what I thought I wanted.”
As a freshman, Miller, 17, played for the Miners at Park City High School, but due to her experience during that season, she chose not to play volleyball for the Miners the following season when she was attending the school.
When she elected to forgo volleyball at the high school, Miller fell into what she called a “funk.” She never wanted to play volleyball again.
“My sophomore year was extremely difficult for not just me, but for my family as well,” Miller said. “I was just done physically, mentally and emotionally that I wanted to give up and quit. … I couldn’t even think about college recruiting at the time because I was just done with everything.”
Fortunately, Lisa knew her daughter better than Brie knew herself at that moment, refusing to let Brie quit knowing she would come out of this funk stronger and regretting the decision she made in an emotional moment.
“I knew she loved it and had a passion or it, for everything else she was going through, it (beach volleyball) was an outlet for her,” Lisa said. “I saw the long term and knew it would be worth it if she stayed with it. … I never had the opportunity to follow or have a passion and I didn’t want her to quit on that.”
It’s a good thing Lisa never let Brie quit, because a year and a half later, Brie, who is now homeschooled, is a senior, a Utah state beach volleyball champion and heading to Concordia University Irvine in Irvine, California to play Division I beach volleyball on scholarship.
This summer is when Brie made the biggest change, giving up indoor volleyball completely to focus on beach volleyball.
Her state championship in beach volleyball didn’t come without tribulations. She and her partner, Elise Porter of South Jordan came up just short of a state title last year, falling in the U16 championship.
Back with Porter again this summer, Brie and Porter dominated over eight hours of U18 competition on the sand. They didn’t drop a single set all day, going 7-0 and culminating in a 21-18 and 21-13 thrashing in the finals to win.
“We wanted to take back the title after coming so close the year before,” Brie said. “It all started working and coming together because we got it in our heads that we could play smarter, not stronger.”
Brie’s love for beach volleyball wasn’t immediate as she got her start like most other kids in the country: Playing indoor volleyball first. Lisa got her into the game in the fifth grade and Brie instantly fell in love with the concept, and due to her competitive nature, she moved past recreational volleyball and into the club game.
She played for Elevate Volleyball Club in Park City for one year when she was 12 before representing Club V Volleyball in Salt Lake City the following two. Another change took her to Club GSL in South Jordan where she played for two more years, although she was only going to play one year before taking on beach volleyball full time.
“At that time I was pretty much set on playing beach volleyball full time when I was 16 (second year at Club GSL),” Brie said. “But the club called me back and kept asking if I would play with them for another year.” I eventually decided to play with them because I loved playing with the girls so much so it was just a natural fit to play again.”
Even while playing club, Brie was dedicating part of her time to playing beach volleyball at the same time, making the summers very long and full of traveling. Because Utah’s beach scene was still growing, Brie would travel repeatedly to Colorado and Southern California to participate in tournaments whenever possible.
“My mom got a new car and put 14,000 on it in two months, mainly from just driving me around to volleyball tournaments,” Brie said. “She’s incredible because she would drive 10-20 hours just so I can play in a one-day tournament somewhere.”
Nowadays, Brie splits her time playing beach volleyball between SandBar in Salt Lake City and the LAB in Breckenridge, Colorado where dad, Ray, lives. It seems like forever ago when she wanted to give up on the game she now loves, but now Brie couldn’t be more excited about the direction of her life.
“It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come since my sophomore year when everything was falling apart,” Brie said. “Now I’m committed to my dream school with dollars, a state champion that I worked extremely hard to be and just excited for life every day.”
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