Timber Creek volleyball star hopes to leave program with first playoff berth

Posted Monday, Jun. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Were the Keller Timber Creek volleyball squad a professional team, Lauren Mills would be the face of the franchise.

Mills has been a part of almost every play in the young varsity program’s three-year lifespan, meaning there hasn’t been Timber Creek volleyball without Mills.

Now, entering Mill’s senior season, Timber Creek is finally prepared to give Mills the one accolade she’s never experienced at the high school level – a playoff berth.

“This has been her goal and it’s been my goal, and she has five other teammates who are going to be seniors and all of them have been on the team for at least two years,” Timber Creek head coach Catherine Reeves said. “We’re kind of at the point now that this is a real team and it’s a real program and we have a good shot this year.”

As one of the only players with club experience before her freshman year, Mills was called upon to carry the team at a young age in a season that only saw five wins.

But as Mills improved, the team has grown stronger and stronger, leading to over 21 wins last season in Mills’ junior year.

“The first year was rough and so was the second, but we finally felt like a family last year,” Mills said.

Reeves initially utilized Mills at middle as a freshman, because of her height, but as Mills moved over to outside hitter in club play, Reeves made the switch as well, which paid dividends for Timber Creek’s offense.

On the court, Mills is naturally the leader of the team, but is a quiet leader who leads by example and natural ability. Her experience lends to her calm demeanor while in action.

“Lauren is the best player on our team and because of that the kids just naturally look to her,” Reeves said. “I think they respect her as a player and her talent naturally lends itself into a leadership role on the court. She’s not the kind of leader who is really enthusiastic, but she’s the head and the brains of the team. She doesn’t panic.”

Those qualities drew looks from college coaches all over the country, ultimately leading Mills to pick SMU as her next destination over her other finalist, North Carolina.

“UNC’s volleyball program is amazing, but in the long run I chose SMU so I could watch my brother grow up and be close to my family,” Mills said. “Also, to get a degree from SMU is going to take me far in life.”

Reeves said she’s not only excited for the success she believes Mills will have in the SMU program, but knows continuing her success in North Texas will continue her role as the face of Timber Creek volleyball and keep the program vibrant even after she has graduated.

“If she can go there and continue to do as well as she’s been able to do in club and in high school, that will be good for our program. If she can go to the next level and be successful there, hopefully that will be something we can use to keep our program going as well,” Reeves said.

With college recruiting finalized and out of the way, Reeves said Mills’ focus has been on overcoming the playoff hurdle and finishing her high school career strong.

“First it was soccer, then football, and now it’s our year,” Mills said of the first Timber Creek programs to make the postseason. “We have over 10 returning letterman and we plan to make a strong district run to the playoffs.”

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