Nicole Branagh attended the University of Minnesota where she played outside hitter. During her time at Minnesota, Branagh was twice named Second Team All-American and was voted Big Ten co-Player of the Year in her senior season. By the time Branagh graduated, she had tallied the most kills in Big Ten history.
Following her collegiate career, Branagh decided to play for the US National Team from 2001 to 2003, where she ended her career after winning a bronze medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. Branagh made her AVP debut in 2004 at Belmar when she qualified for the main draw. Since then she has gone on to win 16 AVP tournaments with three different partners. Branagh was named AVP Rookie of the Year in 2005, Most Improved Player in 2006 and 2008, and won MVP, Best Offensive Player, and Team of the Year in 2009. She has also earned over $1 million in tournament winnings during her beach volleyball career.
2015: Branagh and Dowdy played one AVP event, then Branagh and Jenny Kropp teammed up for six AVP tournaments. The duo advanced to four title matches, the most of any team on tour, winning once. Branagh was fourth in digs per set (5.53), sixth in aces (.84) and sixth in hitting percentage (.441). On the FIVB Tour Branagh played once each with Jennifer Fopma and Kropp, with a best of ninth.
Off-Season: Does it actually exist or is it just a myth?
I guess it used to exist before kids! Haha. I would say I never really stopped working out for more than 2 weeks, but definitely took a break from the sand. Kept the workouts going in the gym, but a mental and physical break is always an important part of me being able to stay healthy!
What is your favorite event location?
Always LOVE the event in Chicago….love the city and the fans. And also top of the list is of course Manhattan Beach….can’t beat playing at home with friends and family there to cheer us on!
What is the most rewarding piece of advice you ever received?
No matter what you are doing, always do your best to keep balance in your life. Not always easy to do, but I have noticed over my career I am happiest and play best when things are balanced.