Morris senior Natalie Lawton, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, won the voting for The Herald-News Athlete of the Week. Lawton collected 329 votes, compared to 244 for Joliet West’s Ava Grevengoed and 103 for Lincoln-Way Central’s Kiera King. Lawton helped lead Morris to the championship at the Oak Forest Invitational with 31 kills, 15 digs and five aces and has been instrumental in the club’s 17-3 record so far this season.
JHN: How have things been going this year?
Lawton: We are having a really good year. It’s pretty exciting that we have found so much success.
JHN: Is this the type of year you expected?
Lawton: We knew we had a lot of talent coming back from last year, and the girls that came up from the JV team have done a really good job of blending in with us.
JHN: Do you have a pretty close team?
Lawton: Yes, we do. We did a lot of team bonding over the summer and during the season. We have team dinners every Wednesday. That’s pretty fun. Each week, a different player hosts and the menu changes. It’s fun to get to know what the different girls and their families like to have for dinner and to just get to know them.
JHN: What are your goals for the season?
Lawton: We want to win the conference and win a regional. After that, we will take it one match at a time. One thing we really want to do is beat Kaneland. They have been on top of the conference for a while, so it would be nice to make a change at the top.
JHN: You are hosting the regional this year. Are you looking forward to that?
Lawton: Yes. Everyone is so excited about it. It would be so nice, especially for us seniors, to win a regional championship on our home floor. We always have a pretty good crowd, and they bring a lot of energy. We feed off their energy and when we play well, they get louder.
JHN: What kind of team do you have?
Lawton: We are pretty balanced. It’s fun to play with a team like that. We know that if someone is having on off-night, we can trust everyone else to pick that person up. Our passers do a great job of getting the ball up to the setters, and the setters do a good job of spreading it out to the hitters. It all works together. We always want to keep a play going. If we can keep the ball alive and get it over the net, then the other team might make a mistake. And if we keep bringing it up, sometimes it gets the other team off their game.