Gibbemeyer feeling more like herself

Sophomore Lauren Gibbemeyer said she felt a little out of form last season as she struggled to assume a leadership position she had come to be comfortable with. But a year later and sitting at 8-1 with the Minnesota volleyball team, Gibbemeyer said she is feeling much more comfortable assuming a leadership role and taking a red hot Gophers teams by the horns.

Paul Bangasser

Sophomore Lauren Gibbemeyer said she felt a little out of form last season as she struggled to assume a leadership position she had come to be comfortable with. But a year later and sitting at 8-1 with the Minnesota volleyball team, Gibbemeyer said she is feeling much more comfortable assuming a leadership role and taking a red hot Gophers teams by the horns.

Sophomore middle blocker Lauren GibbemeyerâÄôs strong performance this season has vaulted the Minnesota volleyball team to a new level of play. GibbemeyerâÄôs talent and aggressiveness have allowed her to stand out as a vocal, emotional and statistical leader this season, as the sophomore has averaged 2.87 kills and 1.52 blocks per set, while hitting at a 0.330 clip. She produced well as a freshman, but producing on a new team doesnâÄôt necessarily mean fitting in to the group. âÄúLauren is one of the most outgoing people on the team; sheâÄôs not afraid to express her opinion about anything,âÄù coach Mike Hebert said. âÄúThat personality wasnâÄôt the dominant one of the group, and she kind of stood out.âÄù Hebert said it frustrated Gibbemeyer, not really knowing how she fit with the rest of the team. Her roommate at the time, sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter, played alongside Gibbemeyer that year, and got a feel for the struggles. âÄúI think it was hard for Lauren, because on most teams, freshmen donâÄôt have a leadership role,âÄù Dieter said. âÄúThatâÄôs what Lauren was used to. I think that was an adjustment for her; she didnâÄôt know whether to sit back, do the whole freshman thing and relax, or be the leader she normally is.âÄù Gibbemeyer still continued to produce on the court, but outside of the gym, she was associating mostly with the other freshmen. âÄúThere wasnâÄôt drama or anything. Everyone got along,âÄù she said. âÄúBut the feeling just wasnâÄôt there. The freshmen had to stick together and we had to learn everything on our own.âÄù Adjustments had to be made, and they were. Gibbemeyer said she learned to polish her opinions in a more receivable way, and over time, the middle blocker who struggled to find her place began to be accepted for the charismatic leader she is. And once Gibbemeyer found her place, the talent found its way to a new level. Following a weekend averaging 3.2 kills, 2.0 digs and 2.0 blocks per set in four matches, Gibbemeyer is the current National Player of the Week, becoming only the sixth Minnesota player in history to receive such honors, the last going to Kelly Bowman in the GophersâÄô 2004 season, which ended in an appearance at the national championship. âÄúSheâÄôs become much better in every area,âÄù Hebert said. âÄúHer serving is more consistent, sheâÄôs playing better defense and she might be one of the top blockers in the Big Ten. SheâÄôs improved significantly in every phase of the game.âÄù The improvements, the adjustments and, not forgetting GibbemeyerâÄôs super-competitive nature âÄî she used to race her roommates via bike to practice âÄî and a winning record, have made up a much better atmosphere for the sophomore this year. âÄúYou can tell sheâÄôs happier and more content with where she is. SheâÄôs getting along a lot better with the girls,âÄù Dieter said. âÄúAs a freshman you donâÄôt know the team as well, so you kind of feel like an outsider. I think through the spring she became more comfortable with everyone.âÄù And in true competitive spirit, it would only be right that Gibbemeyer, the competitor, was the first person to admit it. âÄúIâÄôm 100 percent happier,âÄù she said. âÄúThis year things are much better. We want to go to practice, weâÄôre doing well, everythingâÄôs great.âÄù