By Robby Floyd
Webster volleyball outside hitter Lauren Borik always has a bag of candy with her during games. From gummy worms and Air Heads to sour Skittles and Sour Patch Kids, Borik has found that candy gives her the extra energy she needs before and during games.
“I’ll eat a couple pieces before the game so that I feel energized during warmups,” Borik said. “During the game, I get really tired, and then I eat candy, and then I’m like, ‘Okay, now I’m ready to go back in.’”
Head coach Mary Graf still recalls when Borik asked her if it was okay for her to eat candy on the bench.
“I told her that if this is what you need to do and it’ll help you score points, I’m good with it,” Graf said.
Borik finished her freshman season Second Team All-Conference, fourth in the conference in kills (316), fifth in kills per set (3.07) and sixth in hitting percentage (.269). She led the Gorloks in kills with 316, being the first freshman to do so since Crystal Shelton in 2004. Shelton is Webster’s all-time kill leader and a Gorlok Hall of Fame member.
“I think that Lauren is her own beast, but I do see some similarities between the two of them,” Graf said. “They’re both very competitive, very aggressive and have very fluid swings.”
In Shelton’s freshman year, she posted the fourth-highest kills per set season in Webster’s history at the time. This season, Borik posted the third-highest kills per set in Webster history since 2008. In 2008, the NCAA changed to the current 25-point scoring format. No Webster freshman has recorded a better kills per set since the change.
“She’s amazing offensively,” teammate and friend Julia Fray said. “She’s very diverse with her shots. They expect her to pound the ball every time because she has an amazing arm swing. She’s good at just finding the opening.”
Borik has been competing against older girls since she was in fourth grade. She played on her older sister’s club team until her freshman year of high school.
“I got into volleyball because of my sister, who’s two years older than me,” Borik said. “We played on the same team so my parents would only have to drive to one practice.”
She decided not to play volleyball on her high school team for her first two years. She then suffered an injury that kept her out her junior year.
Coach Graf has known Borik’s mom from their days playing recreational volleyball together, so the younger Borik has attended Webster volleyball camps since grade school. This gave Graf a chance to watch her grow into the player she is now.
“I knew if she decided on Webster she could contribute right away,” Graf said. “She’s got long arms and a nice high reach. She’s able to actually reach over the blockers and contact the ball. She has the ability to do some things that other hitters just can’t.”
Going forward, Graf wants Borik to improve her passing and defense to become a player that does not have to leave the court.
After she graduates, Borik wants to coach club volleyball and to give young volleyball players a good experience to start their careers.
“Those coaches are the ones that make or break you,” Borik said, “If they’re bad then the kids are going to want to stop playing. That’s when you start your core foundation of volleyball and I want to be a part of that.”