Liz Hood '15 shines on and off the court

Senior volleyball player overcomes adversity, triumphs as a student-athlete

Photo/ Sportspix by Mike Broglio

Brandeis senior Liz Hood is all business, both on and off the volleyball court.

Today, she’s one of the Judges most serious and reliable competitors when a volleyball is flying toward her. After she graduates this spring, she wants to use what she’s learned at Brandeis to help her pursue a doctorate in business and eventually become a professor.

Hood’s focus on her future goals started four years ago—2,221 miles away in her hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.—when she learned about Brandeis’ academic and athletic reputations and knew they were a recipe for future success.

“I heard about Brandeis through former volleyball coach Michelle Kim, who is now assistant director of Athletics,” said Hood. “She started recruiting me. I was interested in the academic aspect of Brandeis and the volleyball team, which was so supportive.”

Hood ultimately chose Brandeis, following a campus visit during which she saw first hand the quality of academic programs, activities offered and the athletic facilities. She also knew she would welcome the shorter volleyball road trips.

In New Mexico, she played year-round, travelling long distances monthly, by car, to her tournaments. That she can now drive and often fly with her teammates to closer destinations is a major change for Hood, who was originally seen in Denver by Brandeis scouts.

“It was a minimum of four hours to go to tournaments, all of which was traveled with my parents,” Hood said. “When you live in New Mexico, Albuquerque is pretty much the only big city until you get to Texas or Colorado. I like playing at Brandeis a lot more, you don’t have to travel as far and the travel is all with your team.”

The team has emerged as Hood’s second family, helping her develop as a player and supporting her through the challenges. In the spring of her sophomore year, she was diagnosed with a superior labrum anterior and posterior (SLAP) tear in her right shoulder, and was given the option to sit out her junior year and have surgery. She opted to play through the pain. It turns out that she had ruptured her biceps tendon. She underwent two surgeries—one on the biceps tendon and the other on her elbow—and, although she still experiences pain, she is back on the court for her senior season.

Hood said her teammates have helped her battle through the setbacks and adversity. They also have been there to help her celebrate a milestone.

Last September Hood became just the ninth player in Brandeis history to reach the 1,000-kill mark. Her 11 teammates honored the achievement by laying down on the court and arranging themselves into the number 1,000, then presented Hood with a bouquet of flowers.

“The best is being part of the team,” said Hood. “We’ve grown as people over the last four years. It’s fun to see the change. The whole team is motivated to work together. Everything we do is as a team.”

Categories: Athletics, General, Student Life

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