By Chloe Adam
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Leesburg (December 11, 2015) — Loudoun County High School senior Lauren Topper has chosen to carry on her volleyball career at Virginia Wesleyan College starting the 2016-2017 academic year.
Topper — who has played the last four years for the Loudoun County High School volleyball team — will play middle hitter for the Division III Marlins this upcoming year.
“It feels great knowing I’m committed. It feels like all the weight has been lifted off my shoulders, so I don’t have to stress or worry anymore,” Topper said. “I chose Virginia Wesleyan because of the location being twelve minutes away from the beach and the people. My dad grew up in that area too, so it feels great knowing that I am going to spend four years at his favorite place.”
In just her tenth year with the Marlins, head coach Andrea Hoover won her 200th career victory on Nov. 1 versus Roanoke College. Less than a week later, Virginia Wesleyan fought hard in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament championship, pushing it to four sets before ultimately falling to No. 1 Randolph-Macon.
“Coach Hoover definitely helped influence my decision to play for the Marlins too,” Topper said.
Topper began playing volleyball in sixth grade after some encouragement from a close friend.
“My friend Elyse got me to start playing volleyball. At first, I was not a big fan of it but after a while I started to love it,” Topper said. “My brother definitely motivated me to play because at the time he was really big into soccer, so he wanted me to find a sport that I loved as much as he loved soccer.”
Topper — who plays club volleyball for NOVA — said her club coach has also been an inspiration to her on and off the court.
“Coach Michele Neidlinger has influenced me the most,” Topper said. “She has definitely shaped me as a player and person.”
The 5-foot-11 middle was one of the five seniors — including North Carolina-commit Taylor Borup, Mary Washington-commit Rachel Voketaitis and Nyack-commit Abby Wright — on Loudoun County’s team in 2015 that helped lead the Raiders to their eighth state championship all in the past nine seasons.
“I am very happy about the outcome for the varsity team,” Topper said. “It feels amazing knowing that I get to leave my senior year with a state championship.”
The Lady Raiders senior is planning on majoring in recreation and leisure studies and hopes to add a positive attitude to the Marlins team while improving her volleyball skills next fall.