BYU senior Brenden Sander passes the ball in a win against USC March, 15, 2018. Sander’s older brother, Taylor, also played for the BYU men’s volleyball team. (Josh Ellis)

BYU volleyball star Brenden Sander grew up playing basketball.

But when his older sister Britney began playing volleyball, Brenden and his older brother, Taylor, wanted to play as well.

Brenden said he and Taylor played volleyball every chance they could.

“Me and my brother used to always play over fences or over little rope lines whenever we could,” Brenden said. “We’d always get after each other and play with each other, just one-on-one, and it was great.”

Taylor went on to star for BYU, and Brenden is following in his brother’s footsteps.

Some highlights from Taylor’s volleyball career include 2013 and 2014 MPSF Player of the Year, four-time AVCA All-American and three-time first team, 2014 USAV Men’s Indoor Rookie of the Year, Best Server at the 2014 NORCECA World Championship Qualifier with the U.S. Men’s National Team and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“What he’s done so far is everything I want to do with my career,” Brenden said of his brother. “I want to go play pro. I want to go play with the U.S. National team — that’d be amazing.”

Brenden said he appreciates Taylor’s input and advice on how to improve his game.

When asked who would win in a match-up between the brothers, Brenden said, “It’d be very close. It depends on the team around us. But it’d be very close.”

Brenden said it would have been fun to play with Taylor at BYU, but since they are four years apart, they never had the chance. Brenden said he enjoyed practicing with his brother and USA Volleyball last summer.

Brenden was heavily recruited out of high school by UCLA, USC, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCSB and Hawaii, but chose to play at BYU for many reasons: the volleyball atmosphere, the coaches, the team, the fact Taylor went to BYU and the spiritual aspect.

“There’s no other place that’s like BYU,” Brenden said. “I’m so glad I picked this place because there are so many uplifting people around me and I just love that.”

As a senior outside hitter, Brenden said he is sad to see his time at BYU coming to an end.

“I’m sad this is my last year because I’ve loved all the three years that I’ve had here.”

Brenden said he hopes to play volleyball professionally.

When asked about the possibility of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Brenden said, “Let’s hope so. That’s the goal.”

“I’ve been talking to the U.S. coaches just about if they want me in the gym over summer, and I think they do, so that’s a good thing,” Brenden said.

So far, Brenden’s BYU volleyball career includes 344 digs, 221 blocks, 45 assists and 1,033 kills.

“(Playing at BYU) has meant the world to me. I mean, the coaches around me, the players around me, the support from all the fans, just everything coming together. I just love it, and I can’t believe it’s almost over.”

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