Pitman's Lauren Solis will be taking her volleyball skills to the next level after signing to Division I St. Mary's College on Thursday on an athletic scholarship following a historic career with the Pride.
“It is crazy because it has only been a few years since I was striving for this and now that I finally accomplished it, living my dream, it's great,” said Solis. “When I stepped on their campus I just knew it was the place to be, I felt part of the family already and I knew it is where I needed to be.”
Already marked in history as one of the most effective players in school history, with a compiled record of 107-14 during her three-year varsity stint, Solis’ resume also includes three Central California Conference titles among other accolades.
From a young age, Solis watched her older sister, Ashley, as she flourished into a prominent player while at Pitman and then finishing her senior season playing volleyball for California State University, San Bernardino.
“Watching my sister play and going to her practices for club and playing high school made me really want to play volleyball,” said Solis. “I wanted to be that athlete and I started loving it more and decided to really focus on it because I felt I had the skill and knew I would be motivated as well to do my best.”
After working countless hours on the volleyball court to hone her skills, Solis was finally ready to be part of the varsity team as a sophomore in 2013 and the team went on a 33-5 record, ranking 65th in state and making it to the Division Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal.
Solis and her team followed a great 2013 year with a record-breaking 2014 season where the Pride rolled into a 44-2 overall record, including their first ever D-I SJS title, Nor-Cal title and State runner-ups, finishing with a state ranking of 18.
“I was just trying to fill the shoes of my sister and then for myself. I was always driven and motivated; I wanted to make sure I got there on my own regardless of what my sister accomplished,” said Solis.
The Pride followed up their best year in history with a good run this last fall that included an upset win over Oak Grove in the semifinal of the Section tournament.
As a team, they compiled a 30-7 record for the year and made it to the Nor-Cal quarterfinal round while being selected as a first team all-league selection and the best defensive player in the CCC.
“It is always my goal to be the best and I always try to push my teammates to do their best and it really showed this year with my teammates doing so well,” said Solis.
Solis finished her senior season with 334 digs, the most for the team, by a lot. Marlowe Embry was second with 166 and Whitney Barnes followed at 160. Solis was also first on the team with 26 serving aces for the year.
While attacking the court and working relentlessly for so much time, Solis also hit the books the same way, amassing a 4.0 grade-point-average.
“I play travel ball in Sacramento so I do have those long travels every week so I took that time to study and do my homework in the car, but it's really tough,” said Solis. “There were days I got little sleep because I was up doing homework but it has definitely been worth it.”