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Nicole Branagh


  • 2008

Hometown: Orinda, Calif.
Birth Year: 1979
Resides: Torrance, Calif.
College: Minnesota
Olympic History: 2008 Women's Beach Volleyball (5th place)
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INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: 2012 – Placed fourth with Lauren Fendrick at the FIVB Bangsaen Thailand Open (10/23-28). It was the first time the team had competed together internationally. The team won $5,600... Prior to Thailand, competed in five FIVB events with various partners. Best finish was ninth in Stare Jablonki, Poland (8/13-18) with Kerri Walsh. 2011 – Nicole Branagh teamed with Angie Akers and competed in 14 FIVB World Tour events. Their best finishes were fifth places in Sanya, China and Stare Jablonki, Poland. As a team they won $41,450... 2010 – In the final FIVB World Tour stop of the season, Nicole partnered with Kerri Walsh to win the Phuket Thailand Open and a prize of $15,000. The team lost in the second round and had to win five consolation matches to make it to the semifinals... At the second-to-last FIVB World Tour event in Sanya, China, Nicole and Kerri Walsh placed fifth in their first international tournament together since playing in Dubai in 2008... Nicole partnered with Misty May-Treanor for nine FIVB World Tour events in 2010. Their best finish was a third in Stavanger, Norway (6/28-7/3)... They also finished fourth twice and fifth twice... Nicole and her partners won $67,325 on the 2010 FIVB World Tour. 2009 – Nicole and partner Elaine Youngs competed in five FIVB events. Their best finish was second in Klagenfurt, Austria (7/27-8/1)… They finished third in Gstaad, Switzerland (7/6-7/11)… They were fourth in Brazilia, Brazil (4/20-4/25)… They finished fifth at the FIVB World Championships in Stavanger, Norway (6/25-7/4)… The team finished ninth in Marseille, France (7/20-7/26). The team earned a total of $44,150 in international tournaments and ranked 29th by the FIVB. 2008 – Playing with Tyra Turner, Nicole finished on the podium in the final two events of the FIVB Beach season. The duo came in second in Thailand (Nov. 4-9) and third in China (Nov. 11-16) to close out the year... Following the 2008 Olympic Games, Nicole partnered with fellow Olympian Kerri Walsh to win the FIVB beach tour event in Dubai. The pair went 6-0 and did not lose a set. They beat compatriots Jen Boss and April Ross, 21-18, 21-19, in the final... Nicole and partner Elaine Youngs, who were ranked fifth, finished tied for fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, falling in the quarterfinals (17-21, 13-21) to the fourth-ranked Chinese team of Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, which went on to win the bronze medal. Nicole was clocked with one of the fastest serves of the tournament at 49 miles per hour... Nicole and Elaine clinched the second U.S. women's beach volleyball Olympic spot at the FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event in Moscow on July 5. Going into the event, Nicole and Elaine led compatriots Jen Boss and April Ross by just 80 Olympic qualifying points. Although Branagh and Youngs won the silver medal, it actually secured enough points for the slot with a 21-17, 21-14 semifinal win in 37 minutes over fourth-seeded Brazilians Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro. Nicole and Elaine added another 160 points to their Olympic qualifying total for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since May 2007. The win eliminated compatriots Jen Boss and April Ross from Beijing consideration, although there was one qualifying event left... Nicole and Elaine played in eight FIVB events in 2008 prior to the Olympic Games and won one gold medal (Barcelona), one silver (Moscow) and two bronze (Seoul and Paris). They have won $68,450... Nicole's serve was clocked at 85.7 kph (53.2 mph) at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour stop in Barcelona (May 26-30), where she was also named the most outstanding player. 2007 – Branagh and Youngs played in eight tournaments with one second-place finish (Phuket, Thailand) and two thirds (Fortaleza, Brazil; St. Petersburg, Russia)... Won $57,200... Finished season ranked 19th... Nicole’s serve was clocked at 77.6 kph (48.2 mph) at the World Tour stop in Gstaad, Switzerland. 2006 - Played in eight tournaments but did not medal... Finished with one fourth and two fifths... Won $21,450... Finished season ranked 53rd.

DOMESTIC HIGHLIGHTS: 2012 – Finished second with Kerri Walsh at AVP events in Cincinnati (8/30-9/2) and Santa Barbara, Calif. (9/7-9)... Placed third at Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Tour events in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with Tyra Turner (5/26-27) and in Manhattan Beach, Calif., with Brittany Hochevar (8/24-26)... Nicole and her partners won $22,500 for the season. 2011 – Finished third at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Tour event in Miami with Brittany Hochevar (9/16-18) and third at the Pro Beach Tour event in Hermosa Beach, Calif., with Lisa Rutledge (9/23-25)... Placed seventh at the Wide Open event in Cincinnati... Nicole and her partners won $8,625 for the season. 2010 – Nicole and partner Misty May-Treanor competed in seven 2010 AVP Tour events before it ceased operations in August. They won the first event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (4/16-18) and the final event in Long Beach, Calif. (7/24-25). They also had two second- and two third-place finishes. They finished the season winning $48,500. 2009 – Branagh and Elaine Youngs competed in 15 summer AVP tournaments. They finished first nine times, including their first Manhattan Open victory as a team. The placed second four times and had one sixth and one seventh. Together, they earned $190,700 and finished as the top-ranked team on the tour. 2008 – Prior to the Olympic Games, Nicole and Elaine Youngs played in eight AVP tournaments, finishing first once, second three times and third three times. They have won $49,750. 2007 Played in 15 AVP events, winning four, finishing second in seven and placing third in two. Also had two other top-10 finishes... Won $185,225 and finished season ranked 3rd. 2006 Played in 16 AVP events with two second-place finishes and six third placings... Finished seven other times in the top 10... Won $65,850 and finished season ranked 8th. 2005 Played in 11 AVP events but did not medal. Had eight top 10 finishes.... Won $14,712.50 and finished season ranked 21st. 2004 Played in five AVP events with one top-10 finish... Won 2,430 and finished season ranked 43rd.

COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS: While at Minnesota, she was a two-year second team All American and Big 10 Player of the Year in 2000... Was first-team all-conference three years after getting honorable mention her freshman season... When she finished playing, Nicole had tallied the most kills in Big Ten history (2,379), and ranked third in career digs in school history... Her career kill total was sixth in NCAA Division I history, yet she had played in fewer games than any of the top five.

OTHER VOLLEYBALL HIGHLIGHTS: Nicole was a member of the indoor U.S. National Team from 2001-2003, and played for the bronze-medal team in the Pan-Am Games in 2003. She played indoors professionally in Japan and Italy after graduation

PARTNERS: 2012 – Tyra Turner, Jenny Kropp, Summer Ross, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Lauren Fendrick 2011 – Angie Akers (international), Brittany Hochevar, Lisa Rutledge. 2010 – Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor. 2009 – Elaine Youngs. 2008 – Elaine Youngs. Nicole also played international matches with Tyra Turner and Kerri Walsh. 2007 – Elaine Youngs. 2006 – Holly McPeak, Elaine Youngs. 2005 – Kerri Eich, Jeanette Hecker, Angie Akers. 2004 – Alicia Zamparelli, Danalee Corso, Lauren Fendrick.

PERSONAL: Born Nicole Christine Branagh in San Leandro, Calif. ... Parents are Tom and Diane Branagh... Nicole has one brother, John, and one sister, Denise... Nicole graduated from Miramonte High School in Orinda, Calif. ... She played both basketball and volleyball and also competed in track and field... Received her degree in public relations/advertising at Minnesota... Spent a season as an assistant coach at Cal-State Fullerton… She began playing beach volleyball competitively in 2004… Her hobbies are laughing, spending time with friends and family, travel and "anything outside"... Her favorite movie is August Rush and she likes all types of music... She says her parents are her role models.

HONORS: 2009 – AVP Most Valuable Player. AVP Best Offensive Player. AVP Team of the Year (with Elaine Youngs). AVP Crocs Cup Champion (with Elaine Youngs). 2008 – AVP Most Improved Player. FIVB Most Improved Player 2006 – AVP Most Improved Player. 2005 – AVP Rookie of the Year.

Updated October 2012

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