HOUGHTON - The first week of volleyball practice at Michigan Tech has been full of new experiences for Lauren Emmert, but she's been doing big new things all summer, so that's no great change.
Emmert, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Northbrook, Ill., participated on the U-22 BIP Midwest team at the 10th annual European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia in mid-July.
"It was a lot of fun, just being there, it was really beautiful but the team over there was interesting experience to have given that none of us had played with each other before and just being thrown together and playing a different to type of style in Europe," Emmert said.
Michigan Tech’s Lauren Emmert performs an agility drill during fitness testing on the team’s first day of practice Monday at the SDC?Gym. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
The other members of her 10-person team are all headed to Division I programs, including Northern Illinois, Ohio (University), Indiana and Georgetown.
Emmert probably had Division I options as well, but Michigan Tech was what she preferred.
"When I came for my visit, I really felt at home with the team and the school, I really liked the coaching style, they've got a lot of snow, it just felt right compared to other schools," Emmert said.
Emmert's club, Wildcat Juniors, is coached by Michigan Tech alum Karen (Milborn) Sonders, which gave coach Matt Jennings a chance to make the recruiting connection early. He believes he's got something special.
"She's going to make an incredible difference for us from day one for four years. I truly believe if she continues on the path that she's on, she can be potentially one of the better middles in our league in the time she's here," Jennings said.
Jennings called Emmert's position, middle, the hardest one in the game, and hopes her technical ability will bolster a Husky front line that trailed the GLIAC in blocking last season.
"The difference-maker is she's as good as defense, blocking at the net, as she's good at offense," Jennings said.
Even for someone as highly rated as Emmert is, Monday's first day of practice was a different experience.
"At first, I was definitely nervous. I was nervous but yet excited at the same time, because I didn't know what to expect really. It was a good entrance into what they expect out of us," she said.
There will be many more 'firsts' to come for Emmert, who is interested in studying secondary education and teaching history, but through it all, expect her to keep a level head about it.
"I think I can bring a sense of calmness on the court. Even when things get excited, making sure to focus on the next point, moving forward," she said.