By Julia Waraksy
KINGSTON, R.I. – With the Rhode Island volleyball season underway, senior captain, Lauren Pick is ready to strive for her final chance at an Atlantic 10 championship.
The Cedar Park, Texas native has proven she has the ability to perform as a dominant setter in the conference. Her junior year she led Rhode Island with a team-high of 926 assists, second on the team in digs with 235 and third in total blocks with 66.
"Lauren has grown tremendously from her freshman year to now," said head coach Steve Santonastaso. "In her earlier years at Rhode Island, she knew that she needed to work and work to get to that place on the roster. Her efforts with her growth and confidence have been tremendous."
Although Pick had talented setter Callan Kinnan ahead of her in her first two years, she continued to push and work hard for what she wanted. She dedicated her time in the off-season to lifting, conditioning and perfecting her skill which ultimately paid off. Entering her junior year, Pick was the team's starting setter.
"I knew I wanted that spot on the court," said Pick. "Everyone has to work for what they want."
Not only did success come along with her commitment, but also the opportunity to lead her team in the 2018 season. Becoming senior co-captain with Olivia Budinich along with junior co-captain Jenna McGuire.
"She has to take on a bigger role of being captain and I think it's pretty eye opening, but it hasn't been overwhelming for her," said Santonastaso. "She understands that responsibility and approaches it in the way I expected her to, which is to set an example of hard work and commitment on the court and in the classroom."
A vital aspect to their success this season was the tireless effort they endured this preseason. With the first three weeks of practice consisting of two workouts a day, each lasting two-and-a-half hours along with lift twice a week, the Rams were ready to let their results work.
"Preseason isn't always the most fun of times, because of how tired your body gets," said Pick. "But these group of girls made it so much fun and enjoyable, that time flew by so quickly."
Despite having a young roster Pick has high expectations for her team heading into conference play. With a 6-7 record, the Rams are now in the conference portion of their schedule, as they host La Salle Friday night and Duquesne Saturday. Both matches are 7 p.m. starts in Keaney Gymnasium.
"We are a very young team, the majority of our roster are freshman and sophomores, but we are still very good," said Pick. "The chemistry we have is a part of what makes us very successful."
Outside of athletics, Pick is invested in the classroom. She is working toward a degree in civil engineering. This past summer, she interned with Wiss, Janey, Elstner Associates Inc., which is a firm of engineers specialized in investigation, testing and design of repairs for buildings, bridges and other structures.
"I really enjoyed learning what my potential future could be like," said Pick. "Experiencing real life projects and applying what I've learned in the classroom, was very eye opening."
In her final season as a Ram, Pick hopes to end on a high note. Since formerly being a multi-sport athlete playing softball and volleyball, she is more than prepared for the reminader of the season.
"I think she has a really great combination or competitiveness and the ability to relate to the people around her," said Santonastaso. "She'll always show people that she's working as hard as she can to win, but I don't think she loses sight of being a great teammate and being a good person."