Lauren Grant, a senior opposite hitter, spikes the ball during the match against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 2. Ball State won the match 3-0. DN PHOTO EMMA ROGERS
WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Grant could win MAC for first time since transferring
Lauren Grant isn’t exactly like the rest of the seniors.
Unlike Jacqui Seidel, Mindy Marx, Catie Fredrich, and Kylee Baker, Grant didn’t begin her volleyball career at Ball State.
The outside hitter played her freshman season at the University of Cincinnati and barely saw the court. She played in just six matches and nine sets overall before transferring.
Grant’s Ball State career stats
98 solo and assisted blocks
Career high 17 kills vs. Bowling Green State University in 2013
“There’s this late bloomer over here,” Baker said, teasing and pointing at Grant. “She showed up halfway through.”
It wasn’t quite halfway, but having one less season of camaraderie with her teammates hasn’t hurt how close she is with the team.
But it does bring up an interesting experience that the other seniors have felt.
When asked how it would feel to finish first in the Mid-American Conference West standings as a senior, Grant was the first to pipe up.
“I’ve never won the MAC before, and I want to win it once before I leave,” she said.
In 2010, Ball State went 14-2 in the MAC and finished first, but Grant was still a freshman opposite side attacker at Cincinnati.
After transferring, Grant saw an immediate increase in playing time. She played in 29 matches and started 17 of them her sophomore season.
She saw her role increase late in the season when she had a season high 15 kills against Western Michigan University and followed it up six days later with 14 kills against Eastern Michigan University.
Like many others, Grant knew some of the players on the Ball State team before she transferred.
“I remember seeing her transfer and thinking, ‘I know that Lauren Grant girl,’” Baker said.
Grant played for the Mizuno Northern Lights club volleyball team. Although many of the seniors grew up in different states, Grant said they got to know each other because their teams would play matchups nearly every weekend during club tournaments.
“But now we’re all friends,” she said.
Grant has helped mentor younger players while contributing on the scoreboard.
This season against Bowling Green State University, Grant tallied a career high 17 kills. The next day, she turned around and added 16 more against Miami University.
With just four matches left, Ball State and Ohio University have 10-2 conference records although Ball State holds the tiebreaker after knocking off Ohio earlier this season.
If Ball State wins out, Grant will get that first place MAC finish.