Brooke Nuneviller: Excellence Personified – University of Oregon Athletics
Brooke Nuneviller arrived at Oregon in 2018 as a well-rounded prospect with a bright future as a libero. She will leave as one of the most accomplished players in program history, ranking in the Ducks’ career top 10 for points, kills, digs and service aces.
At times she has been most vital to her team as a back-row defender and passer; at other times, its most potent offensive force as a hitter. Always, she has been the emotional heart and soul of the program, a fiery competitor who puts her body on the line for the Ducks while exuding infectious positivity.
Statistics only scratch the surface when it comes to quantifying Nuneviller’s impact on the Oregon volleyball program. So to mark her Senior Day, Nuneviller’s coaches and teammates were asked to pass along some of their favorite memories, and their impressions of just what makes her tick.
AUGUST RASKIE, UO volleyball 2015-18: In my honest opinion, I think Brooke Nuneviller is not one in a million, she’s the type of person that’s once in a lifetime.
MATT ULMER, UO head coach: This whole year, I’ve tried to remind myself and talk to her all the time, like, I just want to enjoy each and every day. Because I know the time will come when we don’t get to be together all the time. She’s just unbelievably special as a human being, and obviously a great volleyball player. She makes me a better coach, she makes her teammates better — she’s elevated our program immensely.
GEORGIA MURPHY, UO junior: Brooke is the definition of one of the greatest competitors of all time. She will do ANYTHING and I MEAN ANYTHING to win. Whether it’s extra reps after practice, a positive conversation, or a team-bonding event, she will make it happen to help any teammate.
AUGUST RASKIE, UO volleyball 2015-18: She is such a competitor. She is relentless in what she gives to the team, emotionally and physically. She’s the type of player that has no limits. She’s willing to do what’s necessary in order to succeed, and then some. Brooke Nuneviller is a competitor, a fiery spirit and all-around a really great teammate. And I’m so honored I got to experience playing with her.
— Oregon Volleyball (@OregonVB) November 7, 2022
ELISE FERREIRA, UO junior: Brooke is the hardest worker in the gym hands down. She comes in every day wanting to get better and pushes everyone around her to get better as well. She has impacted this program to no ends and we are left with a program of discipline, grit, and full commitment to your craft. She plays with heart and is so unbelievably competitive.
ERIKA DILLARD, UO assistant coach: She embodies a personal work ethic like no other. Brooke sets a tone in the gym at a level of competitiveness that demands perfection. She is the coaches’ voice on the floor and her volleyball IQ is off the charts.
RONIKA STONE, UO volleyball 2016-19: If there’s one word that describes her it’s effort. She puts it all out there every single time. I do remember one play my senior year where she went for a ball and her face slammed straight into the ground. We definitely lost the game but I remember watching the video after, and seeing how much she gives to this game, how much she’s putting her body through. And if we just gave half what Brooke gave — if there’s a team that gave half of the effort Brooke gave, that team is winning a national championship. She just lays it out there, puts her body on the line, every time she steps on the court.
JIM RADCLIFFE, UO strength and conditioning coach: I think what I want everybody, especially myself, to remember about Brooke is that there’s not a time I can remember where she didn’t show up with a smile on her face and a bounce to her step, and ready to take on whatever challenges the day held. And it didn’t matter if it was a game day, or if it was a practice day, or if it was just a summer workout day. If you say the words “Brooke Nuneviller,” for me it’s this image of this huge smile and this mindset of, let’s take on the day and have a lot of fun doing it. She lives to compete, and it’s written all over her face. You can just see it when she walks in the room, whether it’s the practice court or the game court or outside when it’s 99 degree weather and humid — let’s do this.
LINDSEY VANDER WEIDE, UO volleyball 2015-18: When I think of Brooke Nuneviller, I think of her drive and her leadership. I only got to play with her one year — my senior year, her freshman year — but the fact that she was a freshman didn’t make any difference to her, me or anyone on the team. She was a leader on the court and she played one of the biggest roles as the libero. Just the way overall that she held her composure as a freshman and what she did as a freshman was beyond words to me. Not only was she the libero the entire season, but also for beach volleyball, she played with me on the No. 1 team and basically carried me on her back — any ball that I wasn’t able to dig, Brooke would dig it for me. That was the best thing about having Brooke by my side as my libero or as my partner in beach. She’s just a different type of athlete and a different type of teammate, and that’s Brooke for you.
TAYLOR BORUP, UO volleyball 2018-21: One word I’d use to describe her is tenacious. Balls you don’t think could be played, she gets to; nothing hits the ground when she’s on defense — and everything hits the ground when she’s on offense. I’d say my favorite memory easily is during the Sweet 16 match against Minnesota in 2018. Lindsey Vander Weide hit a ball into the block, Brooke makes this diving play to over the ball, Lindsey touches it back into the net and Brooke gets up and somehow manages to dive with one hand and get it back over the net. To be honest I don’t even know if we won the point, but effort like that is why we won that game — and all the other ones we won during her career here.
WILLOW JOHNSON, UO volleyball 2016-19: Brooke is just such a hard worker. She just wants everyone around her to be better, and you can feel that. And you can see that on the court when you play with her or next to her. She’s always encouraging her teammates to be better. She just was an outstanding libero, and she’s doing amazing as an outside hitter, leading her team right now. But when she was the libero I remember her getting these absurd, insane digs when we were playing Minnesota — just “holy cow” moments. She’s just such an awesome player, and it makes you want to be a better player and play even harder. She’s that type of teammate.
ERIKA DILLARD, UO assistant coach: In June of 2019, we took a 10-day foreign tour of Europe to play volleyball in preparation of the upcoming season. Our daughter Reagan was 3 years old at the time and to this day, she still talks about sitting on Brooke Nuneviller’s lap in the tour bus, playing a piano game on her iPhone during all the long rides we took from country to country. It’s funny the memories that kids retain, but Brooke has always had a special place in my kids’ hearts. She loves on them. She pays attention to them. There isn’t a day they come to the gym that she doesn’t smother them with hugs and kisses. Brooke’s heart is so kind. She grew up in the gym her whole life, just like my kids, so she gets this lifestyle.
AUGUST RASKIE, UO volleyball 2015-18: For her to go from libero to starting outside as a sophomore was incredible. She’s one of the most talented volleyball players I’ve ever had the chance to play with, and she inspires the people around her on the court. Without her my senior year we would have been missing something. She’s the type of player that brings out the best in you, and demands you bring everything you have — because she’s definitely going to bring it.
RONIKA STONE, UO volleyball 2016-19: Every time I stepped on the court, I was so happy to be playing with Brooke, because I knew that that’s a teammate that has your back no matter what. She’s always going to be talking to you, she’s always going to let you know what’s available, and you’re always free to swing because you know she has your back. And you always want to cover her because you know she’s going to do anything to put any ball in the best-case scenario. She just goes above and beyond every time. Even if she has a bad game, you never want to fault her. Because you know it’s nothing that has to do with her mentality. Because she’s giving it her all.
GEORGIA MURPHY, UO junior: Brooke is also one of the toughest players I’ve come across. Over the course of my career, I’ve witnessed her magic over and over and over. She has played on multiple softball-sized, black-and-blue ankles — not an exaggeration. And you couldn’t even tell she was injured. Brooke had a gnarly ankle sprain the day before we played Minnesota in preseason of 2021. We lost in five sets, but I saw her take off her sock, saw how her ankle looked and was thinking in my head, “how is that even humanly possible?”
A performance by @brookeyy_5 we won’t soon forget.
-Only NCAA player since 2014 with 35+ kills and 1 or fewer errors in a match
-Only P12 player in the rally scoring era with 35 kills and 1 error
-2nd most kills in a match this season nationally
— Oregon Volleyball (@OregonVB) March 8, 2021
ERIKA DILLARD, UO assistant coach: My favorite match of Brooke’s career that embodies who she is as an athlete was the Spring 2021 Covid season when we beat Washington in five sets. Brooke had 35 kills with one single error and hit .523. Literally everything she touched in that match turned to gold. It didn’t matter what shot she used, it found the floor. Brooke completely took over that match.
MORGAN LEWIS, UO junior: When I think of Brooke, I think of resilience. She has made such a powerful impact on this program and is going to be greatly missed by me and the rest of the team. The thing I always think about when I think of Brooke was her 35 kills against Washington during the Covid season. She was absolutely dominating the whole match and showed the whole country what she is capable of. I’ve been so lucky to learn from Brooke for the past four years and am going to miss her immensely.
GEORGIA MURPHY, UO junior: I remember thinking in the fifth set of that UW match, “she can’t do anything wrong”. She put the team on her back and led us to a huge comeback win. Another one of my favorite insane Brooke Nuneviller moments was in 2021 during our match against Utah. One of our players dug a ball up to the back wall of the gym. My first thought was, there is no way we can save that — and then all of a sudden I see Brooke flying towards the wall, running it down, and I quickly realized I better start running too. If she is going to lay out for that, I better be able to chuck it back across the net. So I sprint after her and see her slide head-first into the concrete wall, all while somehow getting the ball up and backwards just high enough for me to blast it backwards over the net. I can’t quite remember if we ended up winning that point, but that was one of the moments I knew I was playing with one of the greatest volleyball players of all time. After playing with Brooke for a while I quickly learned that I better take off running after her, because she always manages to pop the ball up every time.
NONSTOP NUNEVILLER! ??@brookeyy_5 crushed a career-high 35 kills in No. 20 @OregonVB‘s reverse sweep (25-27, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-10) against No. 7 Washington to split the weekend series on Sunday.#NCAAVB pic.twitter.com/e0RWDUIJWZ
— NCAA Women’s Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) March 8, 2021
ELISE AGI, UO sophomore: Brooke is such an incredible player and an especially entertaining player to watch. Defensively she makes some of the greatest plays you will ever see in a volleyball match. If someone were to ask me how to describe her performance I would say, tenacious. She will quite literally run herself into a wall, the crowd, or the scorer’s table to save a ball. During our match last year at Utah she ran to the end of the gym and dove straight into the side of the wall and managed to keep the ball in play. Every person both on the court and off the court has no doubt that she is touching that ball up. Being able to see that and experience it first hand by being in the gym with her is so incredible.
MIMI COLYER, UO freshman: There was a play this year where she dug the UCLA outside on off-blocker defense — it was literally a perfect pass — then she got a kill. That play really captured Brooke’s versatility. It also is a great example of the things that Brooke does that make people think, “wow, how in the world did she do that?” I feel like at this point any play she’s in could be in a highlight reel.
RONIKA STONE, UO volleyball 2016-19: I tell her all the time she’s one of, if not the best, players I’ve ever played with. Her skill level is so high, and she sees the game so well. At this point when she does something, it’s not even “wow, that was incredible” — don’t get me wrong, I tell her all the time, “you’re so good bro” — but it’s just, that’s Brooke. You expect it out of her, because she does it time and time again. If she doesn’t get a ball up, I know that ball was impossible to get. Because if there’s a ball that could be up, Brooke is getting it up.
Watching this THUMP over and over again!
?? Pac-12 Mountain
— Oregon Volleyball (@OregonVB) March 26, 2022
LISA PETERSON, former UO senior woman administrator: When I think of Brooke, I think of the impossible being possible. There could be an entire SportsCenter Top 100 of amazing plays by Brooke. Not only is it her digs when she is flying all over the court, but it is the ace serves, the big blocks, the incredible kills — especially when she turns an iffy set into a point. I also think of all the times she has played banged up, which may actually be more often than not. Brooke is the definition of a true competitor and she has made an impact on the sport of volleyball and Oregon specifically. I’m grateful I got a front-row seat for her incredible career and also the opportunity to know her as a person. I also know there is a strong likelihood that the best chapter in her career has yet to be written!
GEORGIA MURPHY, UO junior: One of my favorite things about Brooke is how humble she is. She is without a doubt one of the best players in the country, and acts like she’s just another player on our team, not better than anyone else. She’s truly a special player, incomparable to anyone else, and we are going to miss her more than I can express.
ELISE FERREIRA, UO junior: There is no one quite like her. There is no competitor quite like her. Oregon Volleyball is fortunate to have had such an amazing person whose influence will be felt for years to come. She will be missed.
AUGUST RASKIE, UO volleyball 2015-18: I’m so proud of her, and I’m so thankful I had a chance to experience playing with her. Because she really is so incredible. Her heart and her passion and her spirit are very rare.
GEORGIA MURPHY, UO junior: When people think of Oregon volleyball, immediately they think of Brooke Nuneviller, because she’s just such an incredible player who makes unbelievable plays. But to us she is so much more than a good volleyball player, and we are going to miss her greatly.
WILLOW JOHNSON, UO volleyball 2016-19: I wish her nothing but the best on her senior night. It’s been amazing watching her grow and turn into the amazing player and captain that she is today. And I can’t wait to watch the Ducks in the tournament.
MATT ULMER, UO head coach: It’s going to be so strange without her — but I don’t have to worry about that yet. I’m just going to enjoy this time, and we’re going to try to make it last as long as possible.