Senior outside hitter Sabrina Lancaster goes for a hit as Lafayette middle blockers jump to block her. Lancaster was offered the opportunity to play for the Moroccan Women’s National Volleyball Team. (Adele Hancock/B&W Staff)

Sabrina Lancaster uses her experience with the Morocco Women’s National Volleyball Team to make her team stronger

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For those who walk past women’s senior volleyball outside hitter Sabrina Lancaster, one thing in particular might stand out: her height.

Measuring six feet, Lancaster has accomplished a lot so far — and she’s not done yet. 

Lancaster went from picking up the sport at 13 years old to making the Morocco Women’s  National Volleyball Team seven years later. Although Lancaster has had success throughout her athletic career, she didn’t immediately fall in love with the game. 

“My parents just put me in there as something to do for my free time,” Lancaster said. “After a couple years and making some of my best friends out of it, I started to love the game and was introduced to coaches who made me fall in love with the game.”

Now, as one of three captains, Lancaster has been navigating training and school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team meets weekly to workout together via Zoom, hosts bonding meetings and provides a safe place to discuss current issues going on in the world. 

Fellow teammate and junior outside hitter Victoria Jepson said the team has formed “small families,” and because of the indefinite shut down of sports, it  meets for socially distanced workouts. 

“Our bond as a team is so strong, and so even in tough times like right now, we’re able to stay close,”  Jepson said. 

Lancaster said even though it sounds cliché, the team is a family, and her teammates are some of her best friends.

In 2019,  Lancaster was offered an opportunity to play for the Moroccan Women’s National Volleyball Team. After submitting a highlight reel, the team decided she would make a powerful addition. 

It was definitely an enlightening experience,”  Lancaster said. “(It was) a  culture shock in the way they play the game overseas versus how Americans play. It was definitely something that transformed my game.”

 Like many athletes, Lancaster is hoping the upcoming season isn’t canceled.  She wants to be able to share her skills and experience with the six new freshmen who have joined the team. 

Women’s volleyball head coach Alexa Keckler feels the same way. Her biggest goal for her team is for them to compete. Even during a global pandemic, with Lancaster at the helm, the team is making the most of their situation.

Keckler said when selecting captains, she looks for a responsible player who is willing to hold their teammates accountable, someone who is fair, willing to listen and has a strong team-first mentality. 

“She is an extremely dedicated student and disciplined player,” Keckler said. “She (comes) into practice every day and leads by example, and people follow her because of her work ethic.”

Keckler said Lancaster is a leader who listens. She hears all sides before making a decision and has grown in understanding the responsibility that comes with time management. 

“Our players are required to juggle so many things, and our captains even more so, and the time commitment that they put into their sport to be stronger and create a community within our team is quite remarkable considering the academic rigor at Lehigh,” Keckler said. “It’s something to be very proud of.”

Last season, Lancaster was second on the team with 298 kills and led the team with 3.24 kills/set average. When she graduates, losing her will be a huge hit to the team, Keckler said. 

“We’re going to miss Sabrina (Lancaster),” Keckler said. “We’re going to miss her intensity and drive both on the court and in the weight room.” 

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