Name: Lauren Salata
School: Nazareth, junior
Why she was selected: Salata had eight kills in a 25-19, 27-25 win over Fenwick in the sectional final and eight kills in a 26-24, 25-20 win over St. Viator to lead defending Class 3A champion Nazareth back to the state volleyball tournament.
Salata was voted the Athlete of the Week in an online vote by readers. Here is her interview with Sports Editor Joshua Welge.
Welge: Going back to state for the second consecutive year, how does the feeling compare to last year?
Salata: From last year it’s a completely different outlook, especially for me now that I’m an upperclassmen. It’s a different view with the girls and going down for a second time, it’s even crazier. People have doubted us. To go back down there we can prove them wrong.
Welge: Your team went into the playoffs with a 16-16 record, albeit against a tough schedule. What’s been the difference in the playoffs to get here?
Salata: Lately we’ve just been sacrificing our time and effort, practicing every single day for the last three to four months. All the hard work has been paying off for the last two to three weeks. All we had to do was play with our hearts and play for each other. Our coaches said it doesn’t matter how you play in August, September and October. What matters is how you play in November.
Welge: Beating St. Viator in the supersectional match, you had played and lost to them on Senior Night, how did you turn around the result?
Salata: We just wanted it so much more than they probably did. It’s your season on the line, either you fight for this or you give up. It was our best match of the season.
Welge: What will it take to bring home another state title?
Salata: We’ve been on a run, our minds have been in the game so much more from the beginning of the season. If we keep the same mindset and not change anything at all I think we can win it again. I don’t think we have to change much. Just keep fighting.