Setting records one dig at a time

Lauren Clarke is not only a leader of the UND volleyball team, but she is also a record setter.

What is it like to be a defensive specialist for a team that is shaping up to be the team to be reckoned with and contributing to its success? These are just some of the things that the senior defensive special deals with on a daily basis.

Clarke was not shy to give credit where credit is due.

“We play better with the energy at home,” Clarke said.

She was quick to give credit to the many dedicated fans who made it out to the five—game homestand that helped the Green and White soar to an eight—game win streak before being snapped by Saint Louis last Friday during the Billiken Invitational in St. Louis.

As a veteran on the team, Clarke noted the importance of constant good vibes.

“Being in and out of the game I try to bring energy when I’m on the court and cheer from the sidelines when I’m off,” Clarke said. “Bringing up the energy to the players on the sidelines too.”

Though many spectators may not see the difference in her position change, it is definitely something that is felt on the court. In her junior year, Lauren was moved from libero to her current role as a defensive specialist. This change did not come without some bumps along the way.

“It was hard at first, adjusting to playing less and keeping focus,” Clarke said. “You have to work on turning your focus on and off, moving from the court to the sideline focus.”

So what about breaking records? Clarke has claimed the sixth spot for most digs in UND history with 1,473 digs to date.

“You never really think about breaking records,” Clarke said. “I have high expectations for myself, but it’s about the best play for the team”.

Clarke is currently playing in her fourth season for the Green and White and during her time here, she has gained learned a thing or two that she has passed to her freshman teammates.

“First off, it goes by really fast, so appreciate it,” Clarke said. “Playing a sport in college is a privilege, a privilege that very few get… Time management, your freshman year is easy, but it only gets harder from there”.

Off the court, Clarke is a chemical engineering major, where her plans for school seems to be set.

“I have one more year to finish my undergrad,” Clarke said. “And the plan is to take my masters at UND for another two years.”

While some people have no clue on what they are going to do after they graduate, Clarke seems to have a solid idea. Lauren said she would like to use her degree “toward sustainable energy, and developing better processes.”

The Illinois native has plans to hopefully intern this summer in Chicago for a company that deals with sustainable energy. After all is said and done and a degree in hand, Lauren could see herself living in Denver, CO, with people who love the outdoors and great summers.

Off the court, Clarke enjoys watching football or her favorite show, “The Blacklist.” She credits her mother as her role model in life.  In addition, one day she would like to travel to Austria, discover her heritage and visit family.

Clarke and the volleyball team are currently 11-5 and looking to continue its winning ways going into Big Sky Conference play. The Green and White kick things off Thursday against Eastern Washington in Cheney, Wash.

After two games away from Grand Forks, the Green and White head home for a five—game home stand starting October 1.

Allyson Bento is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]