Wacker Established Back Row Presence for Volleyball

Sophomore libero Lauren Wacker celebrates after a point. Wacker has been a mainstay for the Bulldogs in the back row since she arrived leading the team in digs and games played last season.

After each passing dig, sophomore libero Lauren Wacker continues to be a force for the Truman State volleyball team.  

Last season, she led the team in 554 digs and 4.33 digs per set. Wacker made the record book last season, coming in fourth for digs per set and tying fifth for matches with at least 10 digs in a single season.

Wacker said she began playing volleyball when she was 13. She said her family members were big soccer players, but she said she didn’t enjoy playing and turned to club volleyball instead. Wacker said adjusting to the college level wasn’t easy because she had to get used to playing best three out of five matches and not best two out of three, like in high school.

Wacker was one of six Bulldogs to play in all 35 matches last season and also one of three to play in all 128 sets. Wacker is on her way to another successful season because she is leading the team in 303 digs and 5.05 digs per set.

Wacker said it was a great feeling to know she came in and made an immediate impact at the collegiate level last year and continued her success into this season.

“It was really humbling — and that’s what I was striving to do and not just come in and be another player, but really make an influence and make a difference so that we can go the extra mile and go to post season and do what we know we can do,” Wacker said.

Wacker said she likes to think of herself as a leader, and she said she is inspired by the veterans on the team, especially senior Jasmine Brown. Wacker said she reminds herself of the path previous Bulldogs have paved for the team and the path she can pave for the future.

Outside of the team’s [postseason goals], she said she looks to better herself to help the entire team. She said she can accomplish this by improving her performance in the back row receiving serves and digging spikes.

Head coach Ben Briney said he notices her drive to get better for the team and how she has really emerged as a leader on the court.

“She has that drive to understand the process and that there are always areas to improve upon no matter how well you’re playing and that’s something Lauren really does,” Briney said. “She wants to know how can she be better.”

Despite how much she values team success, Briney said she also very competitive and maintains a calm demeanor which helps when receiving spiked balls in the back row.

Briney said after working on a few things, she has already immensely developed. He said she improved her reception technique, as she is a better passer than she was during her freshmen year.

Briney said it’s important to have a player you can count on for consistency, especially in the libero position. He said the team can count on her to have a calming presence matched with a bit of intensity, which he said the team feeds on.

“Especially from a defensive standpoint, she has really became a leader,” Briney said. “She’s really taken charge of the back row and has really taken it on herself that we are going to be a great defensive team. She’s going to do everything she can do to keep it going.”