By Shawn McFarland
Editors note: After an impressive senior season with the Springfield College women’s volleyball team, Lauren Holt was named Athlete of the Fall, as voted upon by the Student’s sports editorial staff.
There is a saying on the Springfield College women’s volleyball team that goes like, “Never be satisfied.” To some, those are just three words. But to senior Lauren Holt, the phrase factored into her motivation to consistently improve as a player over the course of her four years on Alden Street.
As she wrapped up her final season with the Pride this fall, a bevy of accolades followed. Headlined by the NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Athlete of the Year award (her second in a row), Holt reeled in the NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Defensive Athlete of the Year award, was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, and consistently earned weekly NEWMAC and ECAC honors.
Holt became just the third athlete ever to repeat as NEWMAC Women’s Volleyball Athlete of the Year, and the first member of the Pride to ever win the award twice.
“Going into each season I do set some personal goals, but they are mainly focused on the team and doing my job the best I can,” Holt said. “Being named the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year is a great honor, but I simply aspire to play my best for the team – the award is a bonus on top.”
Holt was a habitual stat-sheet stuffer in 2016, averaging 2.87 kills and 1.60 blocks per set, second and first on her team respectively. She totalled 347 kills, and led the nation with 194 blocks – that’s more than any other Division I, II or III student athlete.
Needless to say, 2016 was a career year for Holt. Her 347 kills were a career high (her previous best was 295 last year) and she edged out her total number of blocks from last season (192) by just one swat.
Holt is a busy woman on the court. Whether she’s playing the role of one of the top defenders in the region, or skying high over the net for a kill, she seems to do it all on the court. But as she explained, she doesn’t put any extra emphasis on either side of the ball.
“I don’t try to focus on one more than the other,” Holt said. “I go into each practice with an open mind and work on the one coach [Moira Long] plans drills for each day.”
But Holt is more than just a phenomenal athlete. The senior is in the Athletic Training program – one of the most rigorous majors at Springfield – and more-than held her own, with a 3.94 GPA in the fall of 2016.
“My education is very important to me,” Holt explained. “Being able to balance volleyball and still maintain strong academics is what led me to being a Division III athlete. I wanted to have both, and Springfield College provided me with that opportunity.”
In her career with the Pride, Holt amassed 1,201 kills (third all-time in program history), 640 blocks (first all-time in program history), 132 digs and posted an average block-per-set of 1.39 (first all-time in program history). Her 193 blocks in 2016 broke her own program record, set last season.
“It’s a great honor to be part of the Springfield College volleyball legacy,” she said. “There’s so much history and amazing players that came before me, and I know more will come after. It makes moving forward a little easier knowing that I was able to do my part and lease a positive mark on the program.”