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Christopher Newport University junior volleyball standout and Jamestown alumna Briana Sutton was putting together another standout season, having earned Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors twice and recently recording her 1,000th career kill for the fifth-ranked Captains.
Sutton’s stellar season was cut short Tuesday when she broke her fifth metatarsal bone in her right foot during practice.
Now, with surgery and a roughly 10-week recovery time, the former Division III All-American will be taking on a new, unfamiliar role as CNU continues its push to the postseason.
Sutton, who expects to be preparing for track season in January, said she plans to use her new-found time on the sidelines as a chance to help her team as more of an assistant coach than a motivator.
A quiet person by nature, Sutton said she only cheered or communicated during matches when it was necessary. Because of this, Sutton joked, the Captains are not missing too much from a communication standpoint with her absence.
“I wasn’t the biggest talker on the court,” she joked. “I’m not very good at cheerleading.”
What Sutton lacks in pep talks, she more than makes up for in volleyball knowledge. It is this skill Sutton hopes to put in action while watching games unfold from a new vantage point.
As an analyst on the sidelines, Sutton plans to help her team identify the tendencies of opponents and give feedback to her teammates. While acting as an unofficial assistant coach will be a new role for Sutton, she hopes she can help her team adjust to her absence as much as possible.
Although the Captains will be missing one of their top players, Sutton still believes her team can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Indeed, Sutton even believes CNU can benefit from her not being on the court.
“There are some positive things to [my injury]. Blockers have been cheating on me all year and the blockers are having to spread out now,” she said. “It’s a little rough not being able to go to nationals with our team, but I still think we can put together a strong season.”