For many collegiate sports teams, Senior Night is synonymous with the sadness that accompanies saying goodbye to their most experienced players. The Georgetown volleyball team (10-20, 4-13 Big East), however, will have a different feel to its final game this Friday against Creighton (22-8, 16-1 Big East) one of celebration.
Georgetown’s lone senior, outside hitter Lauren Saar, will be recognized for her accomplishments both on and off the court Friday in McDonough Arena. Saar, who recently became the ninth player in program history to record 1,000 career digs, has been the cornerstone of the Georgetown team. As one of only three returning players from last season, Saar faced a daunting task to begin the year. She took the challenge head on.
“It was going to be completely different, but that it really is an opportunity that we had,” Saar said. “I know, at least personally, that it was one of the most beneficial things that we could’ve had.”
One person who appreciates Saar’s presence this year is Head Coach Arlisa Williams.
“It’s a huge accomplishment. Lauren, this year, has been outstanding. During preseason, she wasn’t able to play she really embraced this group, really led, taught the newcomers the Georgetown way,” Williams said. “She’s leaving a huge legacy here on how to do it the right way all the time. We’re going to miss her a lot.”
It has not always been easy. The youthful Hoyas have struggled at times on the court this season, coming into the final match of the year with a 10-20 record, including a 4-13 mark in the conference. That could have easily contributed to a tense relationship within the team, but Saar has always been positive.
“She made a huge impact due to a lot of freshman not really knowing the ropes,” freshman outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette said. “She made it very relaxing and easy for us to adjust on the court.”
That calming influence has extended off the court as well. Sinnette also said Saar has been extremely supportive of the team’s rookies as they adjust to the pressures of both collegiate academics and athletics.
“Whenever I got riled up and very anxious about things, she’s the one to calm you down, rub your back and tell you about her crazy stories which don’t make you feel half as bad,” Sinette said.
Junior middle blocker Ashlie Williams has known Saar longer than most on the team and can attest to Saar’s personality.
“She’s always such a caring person,” Ashlie Williams said. “Any time anyone even looks like they’re having a bad day, or something’s off, she’s the first person to go up and ask them how they’re doing. It’s hard to pick one story that encapsulates her personality. She truly is one of the most amazing people I’ve met here at Georgetown.”
Saar said she values those connections and friendships with her team.
“I think that the off-court dynamic is really important, having those friendships. It affects the way you play on the court. They’re not just my teammates, they’re my friends,” Saar said.
A perspective Saar takes to heart is that there is more to life than volleyball. The english and film and media studies double major is much more than just an athlete.
“I’m also involved with Chi Alpha on Georgetown’s campus, which I’ve been actively involved with since my sophomore year,” Saar said. “So I love that, I’m a leader there. Otherwise, I’m obsessed with photography and media and that’s hopefully what I want to work in. Whenever I get the chance, I love doing shoots and photography.”
In the end, perhaps Saar’s reaction to reaching 1,000 digs says it best.
“I think it’s a really great way to leave the season and my four years here,” Saar said. “It means that we’re putting up a good block and we’ve had a good serve behind it. It always comes back to the team; you can’t get digs unless you have the team there.”