Hitting Her Stride
“Volleyball’s always had my heart, but education comes first”
Education is a priority for Lauren Reichard, the first team All-Sun Belt volleyball player who made the conference academic honor roll for the 2016-17 season. She was also named the George-Anne 2017-18 Student- Athlete of the Year and is the first volleyball player in Georgia Southern history to be named first-team All-Sun Belt. She was also named 2018-19 preseason All-Sun Belt.
When asked which award means the most to her, first team or academic honor roll, Reichard’s answer provides insight into how she has approached her college career.
“Being named first team All-Sun Belt was one of my biggest accomplishments. I definitely didn’t see it coming because we didn’t make tournament, but it shows that my hard work was paying off. At the same time, school means more than volleyball. Education comes first. We’re student-athletes, you know.”
Reichard has been around volleyball since she was a little girl. Although she was a Pennsylvania All-State softball player in high school, she chose volleyball as her college sport.
Her mom has played an influential role, too. Reichard’s coach through club volleyball and Eastern York, Pennsylvania, High School volleyball teams, Jennifer James Reichard played Division I volleyball for Eastern Kentucky University and was an alternate on the U.S. Olympic Volleyball team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
So, you could say volleyball is in Lauren’s blood.
“Although being six feet tall helps a lot,” says Reichard.
Pennsylvania is a long way from Georgia Southern. The first Lauren had ever heard about the University was when she was recruited by former Head Volleyball Coach, Dustin Wood. Having grown up near Lauren’s home town of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, and being familiar with the area had made Coach Wood aware of Reichard’s potential.
“Dustin invited me down here for a visit and I absolutely fell in love with the campus, fell in love with the girls, the team, the whole atmosphere. I loved it from day one,” said Reichard.
Proud to be Part of the Eagle Family
She considers it an honor and responsibility to be named a team captain.
“To deal with these girls every single day, just to be around them,’ said Reichard. “They literally are my family. It’s a great bond that we all have together. It’s an honor to be a captain on the team and look after those girls. I couldn’t be more happy or more proud to be a part of the Eagles team.”
Reichard is clearly acknowledged as a true team leader on and off the volleyball court.
“I’m very excited for her to lead us this year,” said Wood. “She is one of the best leaders I have ever coached, and definitely a model student-athlete for others to follow. I really appreciate everything she’s done for Georgia Southern and the volleyball program.”
Reichard credits the Georgia Southern athletic support system with her ability to juggle academics with volleyball and help her achieve academic success.
“We have a lot in place. We have Cone Hall, which is our study hall. We have all of our tutors and advisers. In season it’s a lot. But you grow to adapt, and know how to deal with all that. And you realize that your school work has to be done. It’s always school over volleyball.”
The senior business management major clearly has a head on those volleyball shoulders. “I chose business as my major because of the potential job opportunities,” said Lauren. “My absolute dream goal after college is to pursue a volleyball career. But if I can’t do that, business is the route for me.”
Volleyball has greatly influenced Lauren’s approach to life.
“It’s helped me in a lot of situations. It’s like my stress reliever. It’s made me look at stress differently than other students might. Because you have a lot more on your plate, you know how to handle all the things that are thrown at you a lot easier. It has definitely affected me positively.”
Reichard has learned a lot about life from her volleyball experience at Georgia Southern.
“My biggest life lesson from volleyball is to push forward in anything that you want to do in life,” said Reichard. “Put in the work and put in the effort to do something that you love, that you want to pursue in life. Because it goes by quickly and you don’t have time to redo it.”
Wise words from the talented student athlete.
— Liz Walker
- 2017-18 Sun Belt Commissioner’s List
- 2017 First-Team All-Sun Belt — the first Eagle volleyball player ever named
- Sun-Belt Conference 2017 academic honor roll
- In 2018, broke the Georgia Southern career blocks record set by Jennifer Charles from 2003-06 with 494
- In 2018 ranked 12th in the NCAA and second in the conference in blocks
- Ranked seventh in the league in hitting percentage
- Finished her career with 981 kills