By Maggie McConnell ‘09
As the oldest of four, 19-year-old rising junior Lauren Fanelli has set a very good example for her younger siblings. Originally from Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Lauren began playing volleyball in the seventh grade at Moon Middle School. Realizing her passion for the sport, Lauren quickly joined the Advanced Approach Club Team in the same year. In the ninth grade she joined the Renaissance Volleyball Club Team while also playing for Moon High School for all four years of her high school career.
Out of high school, Lauren agreed to attend the University of Colorado and play for its women’s volleyball team. Lauren transferred to James Madison University for her sophomore year because at the University of Colorado, “there was not enough emphasis on academics” and she knew that she “was not going to be happy there.”
Choosing to come to JMU was a last-minute decision. Freshman Natalie Abel, who had played club volleyball with Lauren, recommended that she call Head Coach Disa Garner because she had heard that a setting position had opened up on the team.
Assistant Coach Brian Grimes said that because “Lauren transferred from Colorado she has the ability to train at the Big 12 level. She brings that leadership and maturity to the team.” Lauren feels that the coaching staff at James Madison has helped her to “grow as a person and learn how to handle stuff independently.” As team captain, Lauren believes that she “brings leadership and a hard work ethic to the team.”
When asked who she admires most on the team Lauren said, “Natalie Abel because she always has a great attitude and is a great asset to the team.” Luckily for Lauren, when she joined the team as a sophomore, she felt that the team was very welcoming, enabling her to transition quickly and comfortably.
Lauren was once told to enjoy the process of volleyball and to play every game like it is her last. Having once played on a broken foot, Lauren has proven time and time again that her intense passion and dedication to both her sport and her teammates.
Athletically, before she graduates, Lauren aims to one day win the CAA Championship and leave her mark at James Madison University in records. Academically, as a Kinesiology and Exercise Science Major, Lauren aims to graduate and go on to pursue her masters and possibly a doctorate degree. With the loving support of her family and friends, Lauren has what it takes to have a successful academic and athletic career at James Madison University.
Note: Maggie McConnell worked as a senior practicum student in the JMU Sports Media Relations Office in the spring. She graduated in May as an English major with a minor in sports communications.