Freshman volleyball player continues two-sport career

BY ETHAN SEBERT | MARCH 29, 2010 7:30 AM

Ryan Miller/The Daily Iowan
Iowa freshman Lauren Friedman text-messages a friend in her Hillcrest dorm room on Sunday. Friedman is a member of the Dime Pieces intramural basketball team, and she plays middle blocker for the Iowa volleyball team.
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When freshman Lauren Friedman chose to play volleyball for the Iowa Hawkeyes, she thought her competitive basketball days were over.

The native of Waterloo played four years of high-school basketball at Waterloo Columbus.

Unfortunately for Friedman, her team never qualified for the state tournament, but she was named first team all-conference her senior year.

Her high-school accolades earned her offers from smaller schools to play basketball in college, but Friedman opted to play volleyball for the Hawkeyes because she wanted to compete at the Division-I level.

Then, one of her former high-school teammates, junior Katelyn McCunniff, gave her the opportunity to continue playing basketball in college at the intramural level.

“When I knew she was coming here, I asked her right away,” McCunniff said. “She’s a great rebounder and a great post player, which helps because we have a lot of guards and people who play in the perimeter.”

Managing numerous sports is not a new endeavor for Friedman, a four-sport athlete in high school.
Besides basketball and volleyball, the 6-0 freshman also played soccer and tennis all four years during high school. Tennis was her most successful sport; her school won state titles back-to-back in 2006 and 2007, and she won two state doubles championships.

Friedman said her current volleyball coach, Sharon Dingman, approved of her playing intramural basketball but didn’t want to see her get hurt.

“She was all for it,” Friedman said. “She didn’t have anything against it. She just said, ‘Don’t get hurt.’ ”

Her volleyball teammates also support Friedman’s decision to play intramural sports.

“I think it’s cool,” roommate and freshman teammate Emma Krieger Kittle said. “She really likes basketball, and it’s fun to watch her play. She’s a really good athlete.”

Another volleyball teammate, junior Samantha Brannigan, said intramural sports can help improve endurance for an athlete.

“It’s good for the off-season to keep toned as an athlete,” she said. “We have training and stuff, but nothing prepares you for playing an actual game.”

Friedman agreed, noting that playing intramural basketball has helped improve her volleyball skills because it helps with her conditioning and has helped make her more aggressive on the volleyball court. She also said neither she nor her teammates were overly concerned about getting injured.

The major challenge for Friedman comes off the courts. She said the most difficult thing has been balancing her time among volleyball, basketball, and school work.

“The time that I’m playing intramurals, I should be writing papers,” Friedman said.

Fortunately for the undefeated Dime Pieces, Friedman has been able to manage her time well enough to attend every game so far this season.

She will also be a pivotal low post force for the squad’s playoff run, which will start at 8:30 p.m. today in the Field House South Gym.

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