Colleyville Heritage senior volleyball player Lauren Evans was headed into her third year as a varsity player in 2016 when her coach asked her to switch focus. She did, and it paid off big-time.
“I wanted Lauren to really focus on the setting part of her game,” coach Brianne Barker-Groth said in an earlier interview. “She is already an outstanding hitter, but the setting piece is what the team really needed from her.”
Evans listened, and it paid major dividends for the Lady Panthers.
Colleyville Heritage not only won the 8-5A district championship in 2016, but defeated Fort Worth South Hills and Justin Northwest to advance to the regional quarterfinals. Evans was selected to the all-state team and was honorable mention on the Star-Telegram Super Team.
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“Lauren did a fabulous job with balancing the setting position as well as the L1 [left hitter] position,” Groth said. “She was a leader on the floor and one of our go-to girls when things got tight.”
Her teammates respect her and her opponents hate to play against her.
Heritage volleyball coach Brianne Barker-Groth on senior Lauren Evans
For Evans, it was a dream come true.
“Making the all-state team was one of my goals going into high school , so it was a big honor,” Evans said. “I was very excited to check that off my list.”
Evans credits a lot of the success the Lady Panthers enjoyed last season tot he direction Groth has taken the team and said there was a point in district when she realized that her team had what it took to be a force in Class 5A.
“I knew that last season was going to be a special one,” Evans said. “With our new coach, Brianne Barker-Groth, we were going to have a great season. It was after the first Grapevine game, coming back from being down 0-2 sets, that I knew we were going to have a great season.”
Evans has already committed to the University of Arkansas to play collegiate volleyball, and said in her senior season, she believes her team is capable of accomplishing great things.
“I think we have very good chance going into this season,” Evans said. “We lost three very talented seniors, but so did every other program [lose players]. Like last year, our defense is going to win us games with Jillian Dits, Mari Prazak and Nyah Elis. The group of girls this year has lots of energy, so I’m excited to see where that takes us.”
Groth said that she, too, is optimistic about the Lady Panthers’ chances and said she is happy to have another year on the court with Evans as one of the team leaders.
“Lauren is one of those kids that you never have to worry about working hard or giving every ounce of effort she has,” Groth said. “Her teammates respect her and her opponents hate to play against her. That’s a testament to her character and work ethic. I am grateful to be able to coach her for one more year.”
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