As a 7-year-old, Lauren Evans was invited to play volleyball by an older girl in the neighborhood.
Now, Evans is a teammate with that neighbor, Katherine Anthony, as part of the playoff-bound Colleyville Heritage volleyball team.
Although Evans is now back at her natural position of outside hitter, she has been pressed into service in the middle as well as being a setter.
“We needed a middle to run a 6-2 and had only one setter,” Evans said of the early season needs of the Lady Panthers.
And Evans was happy to oblige.
She started last year as a freshman, but has built confidence and experience to become one of the team’s nucleus of leaders.
Joining the boisterous Evans are junior Tatum Ticknor and senior Allison Jackson.
The mix of leaders is balanced across the classifications, giving the chance for continuity of the program.
Evans’ leadership is a bit of a oxymoron.
“I’m loud on the court,” Evans said. “I get really excited and I’m an encourager on the court. I’m the one giving out high-fives and can go crazy on a big play.
“I keep everyone calm,” she said.”
So, she keeps everyone calm by going crazy.
Outside of the emotional side of her game, Evans is a hard-hitting player on the outside, having a knack for good ball placement and the ability to get the ball past blocks thrown up.
Evans said she used to also play catcher in softball, and the strong arm and swing has been with her all along.
Being 5-10 is an advantage on the outside, but Evans said she’s still considered small among other outside hitters.
Evans has honed her skills during the off-season as she plays in a select league for the Skyline Juniors, based in Plano.
She said that although head coach Hollie Huston is in her first year at Heritage, Evans has been able to learn even more techniques this year.
That experience has helped build the confidence for Evans and the Lady Panthers.
“We kind of hoped for more at the start of the season,” she said, “but we’ve won every game we were confident of winning except for Trinity. But we did make a lot of progress.”
Heritage will look to go farther than the three rounds of playoffs from last year as the playoffs begin this week.
“We’d really like to go far in the playoffs. It would be awesome to go past the third round,” she said. “It’s been a building year after losing four amazing seniors [last year to graduation]. And we’ll lose a good one this year. But we’re excited to see things happen.”