Taylor Bruns, the best setter in Sweden

Vi lyckades fånga Taylor Bruns från Göteborg, som just nu ligger på en femtonde plats i elitseriens poängliga, som passare! Hon snittar just nu ca 10 poäng per match 🙂.
Taylor har många år i Europa, men hamnade tillslut i Sverige igen!
Vi fick en pratstund, på engelska!

Who is Taylor Bruns?
– Loaded question, but I’d say I’m just an American who fell in love with a Swede and subsequently Sweden, and now I’m lucky enough to live and work here AND get to play the sport I love at the highest level in the country

Taylor with her husband Anton

You are right now in 15th place on the best scorers for the Swedish Elitserien with 59 points in 6 matches! How is that possible for a setter?
– Huge credit here has to go to our passing! I love being offensive and my team’s passing has been crucial to my success in that area. It’s also easier to be offensive towards the beginning of the season, before other teams can get a good scouting report on you. The bright side is that when teams start stopping me, this makes more room for my hitters to get kills so it’s a win – win situation in my book!

How did you end up in Göteborg?
– I came to Sweden 5 years ago, to play for Tony Westman, who would end up being one of my favorite coaches 😉, and Hylte Halmstad. While there, I met Anton Wijk Tegenrot, who I’m now married to! He got a job in Göteborg after he graduated and I moved here last year so we could be together after years of long distance. Nate Brinker, president of Göteborg Volleybollklubb, graciously allowed me to practice with the A team, who was going through the covid year at that time, in preparation for my first season with Athletes Unlimited. The club set the goal to move up to elite and I am so happy to have gotten to be a part of that process – and here we are two years later!

How has your volleyball journey been?
– I started playing when I was 7 years old and I never looked back. I have gotten to play for 7 organizations across 5 countries and I could not be happier with how my life has turned out thanks to volleyball. I have made a lot of amazing memories, and have gone through my fair share of rough patches as well, but my love for the game has never wavered

Taylor from her time in Germany

Its looks really good for you and your Team to reach the Grand Prix in Uppsala in January! What are the goals for your Team this season, for the Grand Prix and Play-offs?
– Our first goal going into the season was to stay in the Eliteserie – we didn’t want to be the club that moves up and then right back down again. Our second goal was to make playoffs and finish middle of the pack. We knew we had something special with this group, but we honestly didn’t expect to be in the running for Grand Prix at this point in the season. Now that we’ve gotten a taste of victory, it’s hard not to want to make Grand Prix! We have some really tough battles ahead, and a lot of good opponents coming up, but we are ready to fight as we try to secure a spot for Grand Prix in our inaugural season!

Göteborg is a new Team in the Swedish League and right now on third place and beat the Swedish Champions along the way! What are the strengths of the Göteborg this season? And what are you working on in the Team right now?
– We definitely came into the season with the advantage of being unknown. Most teams in elite know each other and all the players very well, but coming from 1st division, we have been able to start as a mystery. Now that teams are starting to figure us out, we know we will face new challenges. However, we should still be able to capitalize on our strengths. We benefit from running a quick offense – our hitters have worked really hard to speed things up, and good passing allows up to find holes in other teams’ block/defense. That means we are constantly working on improving our passing as it is so crucial any team’s success!

Another huge reason we have been successful is the city of Göteborg itself. Our libero, Mathilda Granberg, was the only player who moved to Göteborg to play for us – everyone else was already living here for one reason or another and just so happened to have a love for the game, and talent to boot! Göteborg is a lovely city that attracts people from all over the globe; it’s only natural that some of those people happened to be talented volleyball players.

Göteborg Elitserien 2022-23

Which Teams do you think will play the Grand Prix Finals and Play-off final?
– For me, Orebro and Engelholm have been standouts so far this season. Engelholm benefits from having 3 very strong foreign players to go along with a talented Swedish supporting cast that has equal parts experience and young talent. Orebro is a very balanced and complete team, with loads of experience. It would be very hard for me to predict a winner between the two! That being said, I wouldn’t count out any team in the league, as they all have their strengths – I think we will definitely see some upsets, which makes for a fun season!

You are outstanding, the best setter in the Swedish League and you played here now for 3 years! Has the National Team contacted you at all?
– I’m not actually Swedish just yet, but I will be applying for my citizenship soon! So no, I hadn’t really thought of the Swedish National team as an option, but I love what they have built over the years and am always excited to support them! I would love to be a part of what they are doing, in any capacity, even as just a fan!

What kind of advice will you give to young setters? Is there something in particular that you think is very important for setters to learn and practice?
– Touch volleyballs. As much as possible, get reps – against the wall, to yourself, on net, with a team, solo, whatever! It seems obvious but I think it can be overlooked when we are talking about any skill. The fastest way to get better is just be constantly getting repetitions – and you can do this anywhere! You don’t always need a net or a coach or teammates, but just a volleyball and maybe a wall. Setting to yourself while you watch TV, setting on the ground while you wait for your pasta water to boil – these little touches will put you miles ahead of those who wait for a practice time and instruction to get better.

The second biggest thing would be to WATCH volleyball! Various national leagues like Italy, Germany, or Turkey, European country and club championships, world level events; whatever it is, watching volleyball at a high level will increase your volleyball IQ, help you see how things should look technically, and give you inspiration for your own game – and it’s FUN!

Taylor at a BIP Camp

Please tell us a little about Athletes Unlimited that you are involved with in the USA!
– Athletes Unlimited is the only professional volleyball league in the United States right now. It is a unique system where players change teams every week, giving viewers exciting new combinations of their favorite players each round! The league has boasted some legends of the game, including Jordan Larson, Sheilla, Betty De La Cruz, Nootsara Tomkom, and so many more. It has been so incredible to get to know and play with such amazing women. The best part is that we have a voice! The Player Executive Committee, which I have recently joined, works directly with the biggest stakeholders to make decisions and shape the future of the league. I am so grateful to our AU founders and staff who have worked tirelessly to give women in athletics the platform they have always deserved.
Follow @AUprovolleyball and @AUprosports on Instagram for more information about the league and where you can watch! New, exciting announcements coming soon!

Thank you Taylor for your time and good luck with the season


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