BAD AXE — Even Taylor Breault admits that at an early age she never really liked playing volleyball.
“I always wanted to play basketball,” Breault said. “I didn’t even really like volleyball because I was kind of uncoordinated and really wasn’t that good. But as I grew into my body more, volleyball became much more fun.”
It also became her ticket to college. The Bad Axe senior recently signed a scholarship to play volleyball at Division II Northwood University of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Breault had plenty of college options, including Division I Oakland University. In the end, though, she picked the Midland school.
“I really wanted to go to Oakland first, but kind of out of nowhere Northwood showed interest,” she said. “I really liked the campus and they have the perfect (academic) program for me...”
It also gives her a chance to compete against her sister, Samantha, who plays volleyball at Saginaw Valley State University, another GLIAC school.
“I had a lot of fun playing with her, and now I get to play against her,” she said.
Northwood coach Tim Koth is excited to have Breault become part of his squad.
“We are very pleased to have (Taylor) join us,” Koth said. “She has a very heavy arm and brings a lot of offensive capabilities to us. I expect her to train and play on the weak side, or opposite the setter.”
Breault’s high school coach, who also happens to be her mother, says she sees a lot of hidden potential in her 6-foot-1 daughter/player, who has earned all-league, all-region and all-state honors during her high school career.
“All of the college coaches were interested in her power arm,” Mindy Breault said. “That’s the No. 1 thing they all said, ‘She hits the ball really hard.’ She might not be as polished as some other (incoming freshmen), but in my mind if she can become more consistent she will fit in well.
“For girls who are over 6-foot, a lot of times they don’t grow into their coordination and their bodies until their late teens or even early 20s. So that tells me that she might not even be close to her potential yet. As a coach, I see a lot there...”
Breault has endured quite a bit during her high school athletic career, including playing for both her parents. Her father, Bob, is the school’s basketball coach.
“Looking back, I would not change it at all,” Taylor Breault said. “Yes, my dad was harsh on me on the court, and so was my mom. But we are a competitive family. It was always fun and interesting, but I loved it.”
Breault also suffered a devastating knee injury which forced her to miss her junior year of volleyball. She is just now coming back to 100 percent.
“It aches every now and then, and if I turn a certain way I can still feel it, but it feels pretty good right now,” she said.
The entire Breault family gives credit to Dr. Craig McManaman and therapist Eli Kabban for working with her and getting her back into form.
Breault went through several months of rehabilitation, which included many early morning workouts.
“She has worked really hard to come back from that,” Mindy Breault said.
Northwood finished 13-14 overall, 10-9 GLIAC last season. The Timberwolves are losing a pair of senior outside hitters, so Breault has a chance to step in and gain playing time right away.
“Talking with the coach, my playing time will be determined by me,” she said. “If I deserve it, I will get it. So, obviously, the goal is to play. I am going to work hard and see what happens.”
Breault is scheduled to move to Northwood in mid-August. A few days later, practice starts.
“I am excited and looking forward to it,” she said.
Breault plans to study entertainment/sports promotion.
|Bad Axe’s Taylor Breault recently inked a volleyball scholarship with Northwood University. She is pictured here with her father, Bob, and mother, Mindy.|