Prep of the Week: Lauren Fjerstad
(ABC 6 News) — In the vast spectrum of sports, size is a lot of things, but it’s not everything.
At 5’8”, Byron Volleyball senior Lauren Fjerstad has proven that frequently with her speed and awareness of the ball’s location. Both skills were highlighted during the match-ending kill to win the Section 1AAA Championship for the Bears on October 4.
“You don’t see very many outside hitters that are her height but when she can jump, she gets up there,” senior teammate Lexi Nelson stated.
“We work a lot about vision in practice,” Fjerstad noted. “Envisioning where the ball’s going to go, expecting it to be here and getting ourselves in the right spot using our eyes.”
Fjerstad’s team-high 16 kills and 6 aces were critical in Byron’s 3-1 defeat against Kasson-Mantorville. The rush of emotion following the final point was almost too exciting to recall.
“As soon as I hit the ball, I didn’t even watch where it went,” Fjerstad said. “I honestly just collapsed to the floor, I fell to my teammates, I was in tears, everybody else was in tears.”
Fjerstad’s knack for being at the right spot at the right time has led to 294 digs ahead of the State Tournament, turning her into a clutch defensive spark. But when it’s Fjerstad’s turn to dish the ball back she delivers.
Sometimes, almost too hard.
“She’s so fast that sometimes we’re like, ‘Lauren, slow down cause then you’re going to smoke it,’” Nelson explained. “Cause she’ll still get amazing hits but then we’re like, ‘Even if you just take one moment slower, you’re going to hit it even harder,’ and she does and it’s just like holy crap!”
“At times, she makes it look really easy and that’s because she’s doing a good job for the beginning of that,” Bears head coach Shane Plummer assessed. “Which is the reading part and just reading that defense and finding herself in the right position.”
It’d be hard to blame Fjerstad and her peers for such passionate energy. It’s what has willed them to a historic moment in their young lives; and it’s with the same joy and passion that Fjerstad intends to put into every dig, every kill and every point.
“This is what I think about when I think about the high school experience in sports,” Fjerstad concluded. “We have painted the perfect picture of what it looks like to be a high school team. Just the best of friends on the court and off the court. Knowing that it could be a couple of our last games as Byron Bears volleyball players, I think we just use that to our advantage to get the job done.”
Fjerstad is committed to PennWest Clarion University in Pennsylvania, where she will continue her volleyball career.
Third-seed Byron Volleyball’s Class AAA Tournament run continues on Friday against second-seed Delano at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul at 11 AM.