Dickson returns home, joins Volleyball
Aug. 26, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Lauren Dickson has come back to where it all started. This isn’t by design, or even a master plan. It feels a little bit more like stars aligning.
Dickson grew up here, and she led Austin Westlake to a high school state championship in 2004. But four years ago, when it came time to choose a college, Dickson packed up and moved east. She spent the past four years playing at Virginia, graduated in May and is now pursuing a master’s degree at the McCombs School of Business.
Dickson is also now proudly wearing burnt orange. Dickson had an extra year of eligibility remaining because of an ankle injury that abbreviated her 2007 season. She’ll make her debut with the Longhorns when they open the season against TCU on Friday in the Burnt Orange Classic.
“I’m excited to just be here,” Dickson said. “Hopefully, I can help out the team. This was really a last minute thing. I applied to grad school at UVA and UT, and then I decided I was ready to come back home.”
In early August, she phoned assistant coach Brian Hosfeld and told him she would be on campus. Dickson wondered if the Longhorns needed an extra practice player. Head coach Jerritt Elliott said UT needed something more -- he wanted Dickson to compete. And Dickson gladly agreed.
“I wasn’t planning on using my eligibility, but it just worked out. We got the paperwork done, and I’m here,” Dickson said.
In Dickson, the Longhorns have added a local legend of sorts. She still holds Westlake school records for kills in a career (1,002), season (583) and match (29). Dickson, rated as one of the top national recruits in 2005 by PrepVolleyball.com, said she had UT on her list of schools initially, but was drawn to the academic reputation of UVA.
“It was a great experience. It’s good to get away from home. You grow a lot when you’re out of state and 1,000 miles away from your parents,” Dickson said.
During her junior season, Dickson led Virginia in kills and service aces, and was second on the team in digs. Last season, Dickson posted nine double-digit kill efforts.
She adhered to a strict fitness program even after her senior season at Virginia, and played a lot of sand volleyball when she returned to Austin after graduation.
“I still felt in shape, but I had to get my volleyball legs back,” Dickson said. “It feels the same when I’m out there. I have the ‘no regrets’ outlook on this. I didn’t think I’d be playing this year, so I see it as a second chance to finish out my college career. I’m trying to enjoy every day, and finish on high note.”