Owls senior takes leadership role

Lauren Fleetwood says there was a big difference playing on the right side and left side in the front row on the Seymour volleyball team.

She played left side with the junior varsity team her freshman year, and again on varsity her sophomore year.

The senior then played on the right side the past two years, and has also played back row.

“Left side is different because you’re more depended on. More balls come to you,” Fleetwood said. “Right side is more about strategy, and hitting the lines and also when you’re right side you have the big, left-side hitter, so you’re more like a blocker. That’s your main role rather than just hitting, while left side is more about getting the kill, and not so much blocking.”

She said getting a kill takes teamwork and communication.

“Those are really big things,” Fleetwood said. “It all starts with the pass. We need a good set and we need to put it down in the very first ball, and that’s our main goal, because if you don’t put it down then they have the opportunity to score.”

For ever team she played on, communication always led to success.

“It’s always important to get it done at the beginning, and communication is the main part” Fleetwood said. “Without it, it’s not as likely you’ll come together as a team and to really put the ball down.

“A lot of times when I’m hitting, they’ll look at the defense and say ‘you’ve got two’, or maybe ‘tip’ or ‘go line,’ so from their communication I know where to go. I usually try to hit their holes, and that gets us a point.”

A strong start also made a big difference.

“It is very important to win the first set because your momentum really starts there, and then it carries to the next game,” Fleetwood said. “So if you win that first game you have the momentum and carry it over, but if you lose it’s harder to pull yourself back up and to come back.”

While she’s spent plenty of time conditioning, the intangibles came into effect during matches.

“I think athletics is really 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Fleetwood said. “So, you have to have the mindset: you have to prepare yourself for each and every game, and when you’re mentally ready you can really focus on each game and every single point.

“But if you’re not all the way there you’re not going to perform at your highest ability.”

This past fall, Fleetwood was selected as a team captain.

“It feels really good to know that you have the responsibility to encourage and help your teammates and to just be a leader on the court,” Fleetwood said. “I try to make sure that we’re all playing our best potential.”

Fleetwood started playing volleyball in fifth grade at Immanuel Lutheran School.

She also played club volleyball outside of season in Seymour, Columbus, Bloomington and New Albany where she was on the same Union team as the other three Seymour seniors.

“Club is little different because you see so many other teams,” Fleetwood said. “They really push you in another way. We always played at a level that pushed us to do our best. We didn’t want to play in something where we would just go through the motions.

“We really wanted to make us better playing better competition. I think that helped us to be the players we are today.”

The Union team advanced to the national volleyball tournament in Orlando, Fla. every year she was on the team.

At a glance

Name: Lauren Fleetwood

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Michael and Ardith Fleetwood

Siblings: Holden, Harrison

Sports: volleyball 4 years, track 2 years

Athletic honors: 2014 Laura Culp Mental Attitude Award, 2X All-Hooseir Hills Conference honorable mention

Organizations: National Honor Society, Latin Club, Environment Club

Plans after high school: attend Indiana University

Favorite food: mac and cheese

Favorite TV show: Big Bang Theory

Favorite musicians: Cole Swindell

Favorite movie: We Are Marshall

Favorite athletics teams and athlete: Indiana University basketball, Indianapolis Colts, Kerri Walsh Jennings

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.