Papillion-La Vista South junior Lauren Medeck was honored as the 2022-23 Gatorade Nebraska Volleyball Player of the Year in a press release on Friday, Jan. 13.
The six-foot South Dakota commit totaled 461 kills for the state-champion Titans, who achieved dynastic status with their third state title in four years. In the 3-1 state championship victory over Omaha Westside, Medeck had 21 kills and 16 digs.
Over the season, she recorded 58 blocks and 45 service aces, and had an efficient .405 kill percentage.
“Lauren is the most dangerous player in the state,” Gretna head coach Mike Brandon said. “She does everything well and she impacts every match she plays in.”
Other postseason honors include a 2022 MaxPreps.com Second Team All-American selection, and is currently ranked as the No. 7 recruit in the Class of 2024 by PrepVolleyball.
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As the sixth Titan to be chosen, Medeck was recognized for “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court,” the press release states. She is also a finalist for the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year to be announced later this month.
Off the court, Medeck is a member of the Papio South Student Leadership Academy, has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics, and maintained a weighted 4.08 GPA in the classroom.
Titans head coach Katie Tarman added a story about Medeck in an email to the Times.
“Lauren was a freshman and we were in a mental training day, Lauren raised her hand to share a little about herself. We were talking about being vulnerable and humble and she sat quietly as her fellow teammates and upperclassmen shared their goals for themselves and their team.
“After listening to her teammates, Lauren raised her hand as the only freshman on the team and confidently but humbly shared that she wanted all the feedback we would be willing to give and that she would make us PROUD.
“Fast forward to now, Lauren has always made us proud. She has been a contributor to our program from day one. She works hard and understands that her role will change throughout the years. She clearly is an incredibly skilled player but she has been working very hard to expand her leadership skills and role within our program and within the community.”
Tarman added that the stats Medeck achieved “speak for themselves,” and that the junior has grown into a true all-around player.
“Her skills in both front row and backrow have kept her on the floor which clearly increased her leadership role as a very consistent component to our program,” Tarman wrote.
One of Medeck’s toughest challenges also turned her into the player and person she is now.
In January 2022, she suffered a knee injury during her club season. Tarman said she was expected to be out for up to six months, and might never reach the same level as prior.
“Lauren is NOT the type of kid to let an obstacle like this get in her way of her dreams,” Tarman wrote. “It was not an easy obstacle and probably one of the hardest times she’s had but she fought hard through it. She was officially cleared for play in April of 2022 so what was expected to be a six-month recovery turned into a four-month recovery. From April on she was able to play in the final club tournaments, secure a Scholarship to South Dakota, and hit the weight room full force.”
Ironically, the announcement of Gatorade Player of the Year was exactly one year after Medeck went into surgery for the knee injury. Now, Tarman looks forward to coaching Medeck for one more season.
“I am honored and filled with absolute PRIDE to be a part of her journey,” Tarman wrote. “She is a true example to everyone around her in all she does and we are all so excited to have one more year with her. No doubt we will see her continue to grow in her game and her leadership as a teammate, student, and athlete.”