St. Albert senior Lauren Williams has had a lot of role models between players and coaches during her volleyball career.
She started her volleyball career when she was around 4 or 5 years old and hasn’t stopped yet. Over a decade later, Williams found herself as a crucial part of a Saintes volleyball team that finished with an 18-13 record and made it to the regional semifinals. Williams was a three-year starter in high school.
Her performance this season has led to her being named the Nonpareil’s 2021 City Player of the year.
Williams pointed to her coaches and her drive to be better as the reason she stayed committed to volleyball all these years.
“Just the coaching, and I know I was super competitive when I was little,” she said. “I really just wanted to keep going and keep playing. As I was doing other sports like soccer I got really competitive and that made me just want to be better at it.”
Williams pointed to her middle school coach Teri Miller and high school coach Angie Lantz as two of the key role models in her career thus far.
While Williams always had a passion for the game, she said it wasn’t until the beginning of high school that she discovered her talent.
“I think my freshman and sophomore year definitely,” she said. “Coach really started to push more on me. She knew I had potential. So I just knew from her and her wanting me to get better and keep pushing my in practice, that’s something I wanted to keep doing. “
That drive was on display at the state tournament in 2020. The Saintes were trailing in the second round and Williams said she felt a chance in her approach.
“I knew we were a little behind, so I was like, ‘This is where I need to start kicking it in a little more, keeping trying, keep playing for each other,’ That’s when I started to build momentum and that’s helped us a lot,” she said.
“It’s a different feeling. You don’t want to be done. I knew, ‘I don’t want this to be my last game at all.’ I wanted to keep going and that’s what motivated me to keep going and push through.”
The Saintes lost that match, but the confidence Williams gained from that match proved to be valuable.
Williams rolled that momentum into playing club volleyball last year for Southwest Iowa Third Degree.
After her sophomore year, Williams decided she wanted to continue her volleyball career after high school and made it a goal to play collegiately.
Her talent caught the attention of colleges and she committed to play volleyball for Midland University this past summer. Williams said the culture of not only the volleyball team but the entire campus is what drew her to the Warriors.
“I definitely like the people and the campus a lot,” she said. “The atmosphere was definitely different from other campuses I visited and also their volleyball program is really successful.”
While playing for Midland Williams plans to major in exercise science and athletic training or sports management and marketing. She is also considering a minor in coaching.
She added she doesn’t have a specific career she’s pursuing but wants sports to be apart of her future.
City Players of the Year
2021 – Lauren Williams, St. Albert
2020 – Allie Petry, St. Albert
2019 – Megan Witte, Lewis Central
2018 – Megan Witte, Lewis Central
2017 – Katherine Poore, Lewis Central
2016 – Sydney McLaren, St. Albert
2015 – Kaci Hohenthaner, Lewis Central
2014 – Samantha Bohnet, Abraham Lincoln
2013 – Kylie Ferguson, St. Albert
2012 – Kylie Ferguson, St. Albert
2011 – Carly DeMarque, Lewis Central
2010 – Sierra Nighswonger, Abraham Lincoln
2009 – Emily Olsen, Abraham Lincoln
2008 – Taylor Russell, St. Albert
2007 – Mallory Husz, Lewis Central
2006 – Mallory Husz, Lewis Central
2005 – Mallory Husz, Lewis Central
2004 – Courtnie Dennis, Lewis Central
2003 – Amber Yoder, Abraham Lincoln
2002 – Eve Johnson, St. Albert
2001 – Jamie Perkins, Thomas Jefferson
2000 – Jamie Perkins, Thomas Jefferson
1999 – Lyndsey Oltmans, Lewis Central
1998 – Lyndsey Oltmans, Lewis Central
1997 – Christina Hamling, Abraham Lincoln
1996 – Angie Kay, Lewis Central
1995 – Christine Lam and Tonia Tauke, Abraham Lincoln
1994 – Tonia Tauke, Abraham Lincoln
1993 – Mindy Workman, Abraham Lincoln
1992 – Jill Patten, Thomas Jefferson
1991 – Jeanine Masker, St. Albert
1990 – Heidi Workman, Abraham Lincoln and Suzanne Riche, Lewis Central
1989 – Kendra Cory, Abraham Lincoln