Thursday's Conversation With UNLV's Bree Hammel
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Welcome to Thursday’s Conversation. Each week, one Mountain West student-athlete will be featured by answering a series of questions.
Joining the conversation this week is UNLV’s Bree Hammel. A redshirt sophomore, Hammel stars as a middle blocker on the Rebels’ women’s volleyball team. The Las Vegas native currently ranks eighth in the nation in blocks per set at 1.47, and is tied for 12th in total blocks with 107. UNLV has won five straight matches and currently sits in second-place in the Mountain West standings with a 6-2 Conference mark, 18-5 overall.
Question: UNLV has won five straight matches in the Mountain West, and the Rebels are currently second in the Conference standings. What’s been the biggest reason for the team’s success up to this point?
Answer: All of the hard work we put in the offseason and summer is paying off. Our team chemistry is amazing; we’re like a family. Having that bond off the court helps us on the court.
Q: You rank in the top-10 in the nation in blocks per set, and the top-15 in total blocks. When you send back an opponent’s shot, what does that feel like and how much does it energize the entire team?
A: I love when I get a solid block. It’s one of my favorite things, because the entire team gets into it, especially if you’re down and you block a shot, it has a way of getting the whole team back into the match.
Q: You were born and raised in Las Vegas. When it came time for you to decide where to go to college, was staying close to home a priority for you, or did you wind up at UNLV based solely on the coaches and the program itself?
A: I’d say it was a mix of both. I thought I wanted the full college experience, but then I also thought about my family and how it’d be nice to have them be able to watch me play every weekend. My family lives 30 minutes away from campus, so I only really see them at my games. I feel like I’m still getting that full college experience, but at the same time, I still have my family at every game. The coaches were building a new program at UNLV and I thought it had a lot of potential and the coaches showed a lot of faith in me, so that’s another reason why I chose to go to UNLV.
Q: I have to ask you about “nap cam.” (photos of playing sleeping on road trips posted to social media). Who came up with the idea and how many times have you been caught on nap cam?
A: Our assistant coach (Russ Friendland) came up with it. On one of our bus trips, we were all sleeping in weird positions and he took a photo. It just kind of grew from there. We’ve been able to get him on the nap cam, too, so we have a lot of fun with it. I’ve been on it so many times. Now I know when I’m trying to sleep to put a hood over my face.
Q: What are some of the go-to movies the team likes to watch on road trips?
A: We like to switch it up. Sometimes the team will pick the movie and sometimes the coaches will. This past weekend we watched "She's The Man". That was our pick, because we all love that movie.
Q: You were a two-time regional champion in high school in track and field (Triple Jump). Did you ever consider competing at the collegiate level?
A: I considered it my freshman year, but with spring volleyball, it would’ve been too hard to time manage two sports and my classes.
Do you have a student-athlete you’d like to see featured in an upcoming Thursday's Conversation? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@TheMW.com