Prep of the Year: Ella Green

Ava Koblik

The gymnasium buzzes as spectators cheer for their teams deadlocked in a tense standoff for the win. Surrounded by her teammates at the center of the volleyball court, senior Ella Green energizes the other players and is fueled by the thrill of competition. 

“I like games when I don’t know who’s gonna win [and] it’s going into tiebreakers because the adrenaline that gaining points gives me is by far my favorite part of the game. That’s why I love playing,” Green said. 

Raised in a family of swimmers, Green began her athletic career not with volleyball, but with competitive swimming, however, she was never as interested in swimming as the rest of her family. At the age of 10, the course of her athletic career was changed forever when her dad signed her up for a volleyball clinic. 

“When I went to my first volleyball clinic, I could not have been worse. I was absolutely awful, but I really liked it. It was the first sport that I had been doing that was my own sport,” Green said.  

After years of hard work and dedication, Green commits to playing Division 1 Volleyball at University of Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Ella Green.

After playing on a club team for a year, Green decided to quit swimming and focus exclusively on volleyball. In addition to her practices, she watched volleyball matches every day after school to learn strategy and technique from the experienced college players. As her physical abilities began to match her understanding of the game, Green rapidly improved her skills both on and off the court. She is now captain of both the Absolute Volleyball Club (AVC) team and the varsity girls’ team. Next year, she is committed to playing Division I volleyball at University of Pennsylvania. Green’s dedication and affinity for the sport has always shone through, exemplified by her countless hours of practice and diligent work ethic.

“I love winning, and volleyball is a game where every single point is either a win or a loss. In high school volleyball, you get a big point and you hear the whole gymnasium rattling as people are cheering. It’s my favorite feeling,” Green said. 

Green’s achievements both on and off the court are impressive. She has led the girls’ varsity team in kills for the past 3 years and was chosen for the Don Kreps Award which recognizes the female athlete of the year at Redwood. Additionally, she is on the Under Armour All-American watchlist for 2021. Academically, Green is a member of the Redwood Honors Society, part of the California Scholarship Federation, has received the AP Scholar Award and was accepted into the Wharton Business School. As with most challenges she has faced in volleyball, she looks forward to the next level of competition and commitment University of Pennsylvania has to offer. 

“The physical stress of playing college volleyball actually makes me excited because I think that adversity bonds people together. Having to do a super difficult workout with your team makes for a really good team environment because you are all connected through that really hard thing that you just had to do,” Green said. 

Green has played on the varsity team at Redwood since her sophomore year. Last year alone, she made an impressive total of 432 kills (points), 189 digs (hits) and 36 blocks, according to iStat Volleyball. While Green strives to play her best every game, she focuses more of her attention on supporting her teammates and helping them reach their maximum potential on the court. 

Joining her teammates on the court, Green offers support and encouragement after a play.

“I always try to cheer louder for other people’s points than for mine,” Green said. “If you’re projecting outwardly that you’re more excited for your teammates, I think it creates a more cohesive team environment.” 

Green’s club teammate and close friend Lauren Tam, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School, has served as a support system throughout her time on AVC. After their season was canceled last year due to COVID-19, Green and Tam often FaceTimed to discuss how they could improve and trained together over the summer. Through all of the challenges they have faced, Tam admires Green’s work ethic and commitment to the sport. 

“She is very passionate about the game. She’s very determined. She comes to practice and is ready to work and put in what needs to be done in order to achieve what is possible, which has honestly led her to be one of the strongest hitters on our team and has allowed her to commit to the next level,” Tam said. 

Green’s dedication as a player and teammate is central to her current leadership role on the court. Her coach at Redwood, Ursula Gruenert, has had the privilege of watching Green truly shine as captain of the team this season. Whether it is helping set up for drills before practice or serving as a uniting force for her teammates by always supporting them, Green consistently demonstrates what it means to be an elite player at the top of her game. 

“The girls respect her in a different way than I’ve [seen] before, just because she takes herself seriously …  and she’s really competitive and passionate about the sport,” Gruenert said. “She’s a natural-born leader. She loves including everyone. She’s really nice to the new people. She holds her teammates accountable. … It’s really cool to have [a captain like] that. It’s so rare.”