Standing 5-foot-5, Lauren Herseth seems like an unlikely candidate to be an outside hitter in volleyball.
But at a position where height is a significant advantage, the Olympia High School senior thrived. Getting a kill off a block, chip shots to deep corners of the court, or finding the open hole in the defense is something Herseth, The Olympian’s all-area player of the year, did to perfection.
“I have to be smart on where I place the ball,” Herseth said. “I really like hitting outside, especially when everyone is way taller. ... I’ve always been determined. It takes a lot of teams by surprise.”
Thanks to her vertical jump, approach and wrist snap, she excelled at the net. And her all-around game was just as impressive. Her outstanding court vision allows her to see a play before it develops.
“She has the ability to see the game and reads what’s happening on the court,” Olympia coach Laurie Creighton said. “It comes naturally, and she has the ability to see the game.”
Creighton described Herseth as a playmaker who carried the team on her shoulders and usually delivered when a clutch play was needed. The 4A Narrows League co-MVP led the Bears to an unbeaten season in Narrows League play, a West Central District III title – their first district title in more than a decade – and a third straight year of bringing home a trophy from the Class 4A state tournament.
“She has a way of coming up with the key play at the key moment,” Creighton said.
Herseth led a balanced offense with a team-high 350 kills, 370 digs and a team-best 51 serving aces. She also racked up double-doubles in kills and digs in all four matches at the state tournament two weekends ago in Kennewick, and was named to the 4A all-tournament team. In fact, defense will be her specialty during her final club season with the Olympia Volleyball Club.
And while the losses to Issaquah in the semifinals and to Mead in the third/sixth-place match at state were a minor disappointment, you would’ve never known based on the fun the Bears had in their two final matches.
Against Mead, which defeated Olympia, 3-2, it was all about having fun for Herseth and her teammates in their final match together. She, along with fellow seniors Jennifer Liedes and Annie Sing, have been playing together throughout high school, and dating back to their 12U season of club volleyball. The sixth-place finish was Olympia’s third straight state trophy. The Bears took home sixth place in 2008, and seventh in 2009 – all of which Herseth was a part of.
“We were all happy with the way we went out,” Herseth said, “and happy to have that experience together.”
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org