At six-foot-one, Lauren Whyte can be an intimidating figure on the volleyball court. She’s just a sophomore, but the Olmsted Falls, Oh., native has emerged this season as one of the top offensive players in the Atlantic 10, leading the conference in both kills and points.
Whyte’s volleyball career began in sixth grade by following in her sister’s footsteps. The sport took, and Whyte became one of the top high school volleyball players in Ohio, earning First-Team All-Ohio honors her senior year in 2008.
As a GW freshman the next season, Whyte made an immediate impact for the Colonials, playing in all but one set in her rookie season, placing third on the team in kills and earning a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie Team.
“A lot of freshmen come in scared, she took on the role right away. She knows what she has to do,” senior and team co-captain Katie Zulandt said. “She was a great influence on [the other freshmen].”
As a sophomore, Whyte has continued her stellar play for GW. During GW’s tournament-heavy non-conference schedule, Whyte was named to all-tournament teams twice, at the Cleveland State Invitational as well as the season-opening D.C. Challenge. She was named A-10 Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 14, and she set her career high in kills with 28 against Pittsburgh Sept. 21.
Her dominance this season has earned her the praise of GW head coach Jojit Coronel.
“When she is on, she is almost unstoppable. She is an offensive threat in blocking and attacking,” Coronel said. “She makes the bad on our team look better.”
On top of her skill, Whyte’s contagious work ethic provides the young team with motivation and focus going into each match.
“She’s pumping her fist, it really fires up the team,” Coronel said.
Whyte’s individual success has also translated into success for the team. GW is 12-6 and 1-0 in the A-10 after its 3-1 win over Virginia Commonwealth Tuesday night and has won four of its last five games.
“I’ve got to keep looking forward. It’s not a personal game, my team means way more [than my stats],” Whyte said.
The Colonials will go for their fourth straight win this Friday against Duquesne at 7 p.m.