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Academics push libero’s limit

Few athletes participate in multiple varsity sports and achieve National Merit Scholars, but senior Brittany Lauber is an exception.

Her seven-year stint on the court began in the fifth grade when volleyball was first offered as an after school sport. This is Lauber’s second year on varisty volleyball, she assists defense as a libero.

?At first I was reluctant to play because I was worried the ball would hurt my arms,? Lauber said. ?My mom, however, convinced me it wouldn?t and I?ve loved the sport ever since.?

Lauber currently ranks first in her class, a national merit scholar nominee and possibly the valedictorian for the class of ’08.

?Playing volleyball requires a large commitment, so sometimes it?s difficult to balance your time,? Lauber said, ?however, I have found that it can be helpful to balance academics with a sport, because it keeps you from burning out on your school work.?

Despite Lauber?s efforts, the stressors of AP English, AP biology, calculus, physics and Academic Decathlon sometimes prove to be a distraction.

?Occasionally I?ll get distracted during practice if I?m stressed over a paper or a test,? Lauber said, ?but usually I can step on the court without worrying about homework. It’s frustrating because I have to go to practice late, twice a week and have to sometimes leave early due to my classes. I wish I could be out playing volleyball.?

With the academic accomplishments to take her anywhere she desires, Lauber has yet to determine what college she plans to attend, but remains open to college play.

?I am not yet sure of what college I will attend or the career I?ll pursue,? Lauber said. ?While I don?t see myself playing sports in college, if the opportunity presented itself, I would consider playing softball.?

Shailey Jones, head coach, recognizes Lauber?s contribution to the team.

?Brittany has worked really hard this year to become a key player on the court,? Jones said. ?She really just comes in and works hard and sticks to the high expectations she?s set for herself.?

Lauber?s drive to become a leader on the court spawned from both her classmates and older peers alike.

?Last year I really looked up to Aliza Ford ( ’07) because we both played the same position,? Lauber said, ?but this year I look to Melanie Nachtigall ( ’08) because of her experience, work ethic and overall attitude on the court.?

Nachtigall believes Lauber brings joy to each player, when she enters the game.

“I can’t image not having Brittany on the team this year,” Nachtigall said. “I can’t even describe the essence of B-Lab. Everytime she runs into her position, she always gives the surrounding players high-five while jumping. Then, I know she’s always going to bring it with her amazing serves.”

Besides the camaraderie formed through everyday practice, Lauber recalls memories of victory during one of the team?s away games.

?I?ve had some great times in volleyball,? Lauber said. ?One of the best was when we won the away game against Fowler last year, because it was such an intense and important game.?

Lauber?s study habits go well beyond the classroom. The same diligence that offers success in her academia allows a step-up against other competitors.

?As a player, she takes feedback well and applies it right away through her practice,? Jones said. ?Her hard work seems to pay off in the way she plays the game.?

The Lady Eagles clinched the West Sierra League title, with a win over Liberty Madera Ranchos on Nov. 1. The schedule for Valley playoffs is still pending, for more information check out Volleyball sport shorts, 2007.

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