One honor deserved another for Renaissance High volleyball player Lauren Turner, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
Turner, a four-year varsity player and three-year starter for the Lady Phoenix, was named the first PSLer of the Week for girls’ athletics in 2012-13 after her dominance at the net earned her the Most Valuable Player award last Saturday in the 24th annual PSL Invitational Volleyball tournament at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Renaissance went undefeated in five matches to win the 24-team tournament. Turner was accorded MVP honors after finishing with 18 aces, 26 kills and 14 blocks, highlighted by her refuse-to-lose spirit in the championship victory against Harper Woods Chandler Park.
“Lauren’s attitude is contagious,’’ said Renaissance coach Louis Mitchell. “She’s a very upbeat and positive person. When she’s in the moment, her teammates are in the moment and she makes them better.”
As the Lady Phoenix’ middle blocker, Turner “is by far our best blocker and attacker,’’ Mitchell said. “She’s already getting a lot of interest from mid-level college programs. A lot more people are looking at her closely this season.”
Turner said being acknowledged as one of the PSL’s best players motivates her to become even better.
“I didn’t know it was coming with a reward but I’m glad it did,’’ she said. “It lets me know to “keep up the good work.”
Since taking up volleyball in the fifth grade, Turner, a 5-9 senior, said “I’ve improved tremendously. When I started, I was just a girl who could jump. That’s the reason they showed interest in me playing varsity my freshman year. But I played AAU all season and that really helped me. Now I know how to hit from anywhere on the court.
“And my attitude has improved tremendously. I used to be mad if I didn’t get a kill. But now I’m so team-oriented that all that matters is if we play well and win.”
Turner is also a starting forward for the Lady Phoenix varsity basketball team, but “Volleyball is my passion,’’ she said. “Right after basketball, I go right into AAU volleyball season and I play catch up. It’s hard work but I’m used to it. Volleyball is what I’m good at. It’s my way to get away from my problems. I enjoy the practice and working hard. I just enjoy volleyball, period.”
A student with a 3.3 grade point average, Turner said “School doesn’t come that easy for me, but I’ve found a way to balance my time between sports and my studies. I work hard to earn my grades just like I work hard to win in sports.”
Turner aspires to major in Communications and a have a career as a sports reporter. “I want to be able to interview LeBron James,’’ she said.
Her immediate goal is to try to lead Renaissance back to the top of the PSL. The Lady Phoenix won the league championship when she was a freshman, but placed second to Cass Tech the last two seasons.
“I think we have the potential to go very far,’’ Turner said. “We’ve lost to Cass the last two years and they’ve always been our biggest competition. But it’s not happening again.
“The way we’re looking at it is it doesn’t matter who we play. We’re our own competition. We just have to play our game and we can achieve our goals.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.
Sports Information Director
Detroit Public Schools