July 12, 2013
By Theresa Kurtz
By Theresa Kurtz
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State senior Lauren Albertson is making the most of her time in a Bulldog uniform. The fifth-year volleyball player is preparing for her final season with the `Dogs, has graduated with one degree and gearing up for graduate school.
The middle blocker is thrilled to get on the court for one final season and even happier to have her undergraduate degree completed.
"It's exciting to know I got my education done and I'm on to the next thing," Albertson said. "As much as I love volleyball, it's not going to give me something to do forever at this stage, so I am excited to be able to start my master's and to have the ability to be able to continue my education and get that done while playing."
Student-athletes spend countless hours practicing, lifting and conditioning in order to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West. Albertson added heavy course loads with school and found the time to balance it all.
"A lot of people ask student-athletes how we do it and it's all about time management," said Albertson. "As a freshman, I couldn't have failed worse at time management, but as you go on you learn and get better with it. You have to learn it to be a good student and athlete. Volleyball won't take me far after college, so I had to buckle down and realize that my academics are important, not only to me, but to my team and coaches. We have to take it on our shoulders to get things done and not rely on anyone else to help us with our stuff."
Albertson's original plan didn't include playing a fifth year, but transferring and an injury sidelined her for a year.
"My redshirt year was probably the biggest blessing in disguise. It was frustrating at the time," Albertson said. "I was coming off an injury and had to jump through hoops to get here, but the coaching staff was great through all of it. In my semester off, I took 24 units at Fresno City and was coaching at my alma mater, Clovis West. Being able to be a coach, while still being a player is very humbling and taught me a lot of things. I have a new appreciation for what my coaches do and I only coached at the high school level, I can't imagine what my coaches' deal with."
The year away from playing volleyball gave Albertson a new appreciation for the game she loves. It also allowed her to get ahead in school and graduate with a year of eligibility remaining.
"It just kind of ended up happening this way," said Albertson. "I thought it would take longer to complete my under grad, but my advisors both in the athletics department and the journalism department really helped me. I got things taken care of and classes done. I did a lot more than I thought I could in a semester and traveling for volleyball. It was a good thing to be able to get all of that out of the way."
With her journalism degree in hand and master's work on the way, Albertson and the `Dogs have huge expectations and goals set high in what could be a very special season.
"First of all, it's surreal that it is my senior year. Obviously our main goal is winning a Mountain West championship," Albertson said. "I think every team in the Mountain West does. Our biggest thing is we will be taking one game at a time, really just focusing on who our next opponent is and focusing on each game plan. If we get too far ahead of ourselves, I think is when we get in trouble."
Albertson also has her sight set on several personal goals, which include being a leader and taking care business on the court.
"For me personally, I am focusing on being the player my team needs me to be," said Albertson. "Also being good early and consistent throughout the season. I'm a senior now and that is what is expected of me. That is how people are going to look to me and rely on me, and all of the seniors, for that stability. It is something that I have to mentality prepared myself for and I think I'm ready for it."
Head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell was excited for Albertson to join the Bulldogs after her freshman year. Netherby-Sewell has enjoyed watching Albertson mature into the student-athlete and leader she is today.
"Lauren is a perfect fit and she found herself here," Netherby-Sewell said. "She's as adult as a 23-year-old can get. She knows who she is, but understands she doesn't know it all yet. She's a great leader in that sense and has the grit to tell a person like it is, when the heat is on. I love that. I'm so pumped to see her play this year."
The Bulldogs have five seniors for the 2013 season and each has their own style of leading. The seniors believe this will be a huge advantage for the `Dogs this season. Albertson leads by example in what she does on and off the court.
"I try to be a leader more by example and not using my words to lead," said Albertson. "For example, in games, I try to be the player who is consistent. Everyone can have an off day, I can have an off day, and as long as I am still giving something and everything I have to my team. We are all different kinds of leaders. For example, Korrin is a very good vocal leader and she leads well by example, so I think all of us together compliment each other very well."
Albertson and the Bulldogs begin their quest for a Mountain West title on Aug. 30 against Rice in the Bulldog Invitational at the Save Mart Center.
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