Even before making the first of her three returns to her alma mater in 2013, Spokane coach Erin Mitchem marveled at the athleticism of Sydney Bryan.
Mitchem graduated from Spokane in 2006 with Bryan’s mother, Ashley, and they were best friends in high school.
“I've seen Sydney coming up and saw how athletic she was,” said Mitchem, who is in her second season and third tenure with the Lady Owls. “She’s a freak athlete. When I came to watch (the Lady Owls) in 2021, I knew she was somebody, with a little bit of training and focus, who could be a go-to player (and a prospect) colleges are looking at.”
Bryan continues to flourish as a go-to girl at setter, hitter and as a server. She collected four aces, seven kills and 15 assists in Spokane’s sweep of Sparta on Tuesday.
A year ago, Bryan’s totals included 443 assists, 278 kills and 246 digs.
“She's one of the most athletic kids I'ver ever coached,” said Mitchem, who was an assistant at the college level at Miami (Florida) and College Of the Ozarks. “She’s a threat whether she's setting or hitting. Teams know we're going to (get her the ball), but they still have to stop her.”
In Spokane’s 6-2 formation, Bryan is a setter while in the back and an outside hitter at the net. There are times the Lady Owls will switch to a 5-1 when Bryan is in the front row.
“I can flip to a 5-1 and she can go up and swing from the front row as a setter,” Mitchem said. “We've worked a lot on her being an aggressive setter.”
“A 5-1 or 6-2, I'm fine with either one,” Bryan said. “I like setting more than hitting. It's my passion. But I like to hit, as well.”
Bryan’s mother didn’t play as a prep, but did play in junior high and has been an influence on Sydney’s career.
“She was a setter. I guess I got my setter genes from her,” Sydney said.