Though the Lehigh women’s volleyball team fell to No. 4 Navy in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 19, senior middle blocker Lauren Bright can still take plenty of positives from her final season as a Mountain Hawk.
The captain of the team this year, Bright has had a personally prolific season, posting 302 total attacks at a .338 percentage. Bright’s success has not come as a surprise to her teammates or coaches, as she has consistently been an impactful player throughout her Lehigh career.
The Mountain Hawks concluded its season 14-17 overall and 7-9 in the Patriot League. Lehigh’s fifth-place Patriot League finish was enough to clinch a playoff spot, where it fell to Navy in the first round.
Bright said the key to the team’s success this year was its depth.
“Coming into the season we didn’t lose that many players, and we didn’t get too many more new ones, so we thought it would be about the same team,” Bright said. “A bunch of new players from even our old roster have started to step up, so that’s been really interesting to see through this whole season, and it’s something I don’t think other teams expected to see either.”
Bright has been successful off the court as well, proving hard work is something instilled in her character.
Hailing from Maple Grove, MN, Bright is a computer science major in the engineering school and plans to work in Pittsburgh next year in the Naval Nuclear Lab.
Athletically and academically, Bright is well-respected by her teammates and coaches for her strong work ethic.
“I think she’s extremely motivated to do the best she can on the court,” coach Alexa Keckler said. “She certainly brings a lot of experience for us and, as a captain on the team, she’s someone who remains calm and provides good feedback to her teammates.”
Bright said she strives to be a vocal leader to her teammates, and she has established solid relationships with all members of the team, top to bottom.
“I get along with everyone on our team,” she said. “There are no big conflicts we have to deal with, which I think is pretty rare. Especially my senior class – I’m so lucky to be in a program that I enjoy spending time with the people because it really does make the experience that much better.”
This is particularly true for junior outside hitter Hannah Wright, who said she has been friends with Bright since she arrived at Lehigh.
“(Bright) has been a good friend of mine since I came in my freshman year,” Wright said. “She’s super welcoming and kind, and she’s always been one of the more consistent players on our team, on and off the court.“
Wright also spoke highly of Bright’s qualities as a captain. As someone who is close friends with her, Wright has been able to interact with Bright in capacities unrelated to volleyball.
“She really sets an example as a role model and, as one of the captains on our team, I think she does a great job holding everyone accountable and pushing everyone to be the best they can be, academically and athletically,” Wright said.
Bright’s impressive statistics are largely a result of her unparalleled accuracy and consistency when it comes to striking the ball.
“Personally, I think recently I’ve been toward the top of the rankings for hitting percentage, and that’s something I’d like to maintain,” she said.
Although Bright may not have been familiar with Lehigh coming out of high school, she has not looked back since.
“Being from Minnesota, I didn’t even know it existed until they had reached out, and, at first, I didn’t really consider it because I didn’t really know what I wanted in a school,” Bright said. “But, after visiting and seeing the campus and meeting the coaches, it seemed like a good one. I’ve honestly loved my decision ever since.”