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Edlund shines at Best of the West

Posted on April 11, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance
Advance Photo Submitted. JOURNEY: Lauren Edlund, third from the left, holds her golden MVP volleyball.

By Cal Braid
Vauxhall Advance
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Local volleyball standout Lauren Edlund of Barnwell continues to make an impact on the court. The BioSteel All-Canadian, Canadian Youth National Team member, and Northern Arizona University commit can now add Best of the West tournament MVP to her resume.

From March 29-31, the Dinos Volleyball Club in Calgary where Edlund plays hosted 52 teams in various age categories from around the country. Attendance at the tournament was by invitation only and advertised as a ‘halfway to nationals’ event, where teams from all over the country get an early look at who’s who on the national level. A total of sixteen teams in Edlund’s U18 category represented the top clubs from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. A medal at Best of the West is often indicative of a team that’s in prime position to make a run at Volleyball Canada’s National Championships, scheduled for May in Edmonton.

Edlund’s U18 Dinos team put the nation on notice by ripping through the competition at Best of the West. After a 4-2 record over the first two days of the event, Edlund and the Dinos caught fire in the semifinals against the top seeded Mavericks volleyball club from Ottawa. A back and forth battle that took three sets to determine a winner went to the Dinos thanks to Edlund’s 11 kills and 3 blocks.

The championship game turned out to be a rematch between last year’s finalists after the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club dumped the Halton Hurricanes from Ontario in the other semifinal. This year however, the Dinos didn’t have to settle for second place, as they clicked on all cylinders behind Edlund’s 10 kills and 4 blocks. It was a back and forth battle that again took three sets to decide before the Dinos won gold. Edlund was supported by teammate Ife Talabi from Okotoks who was named a tournament all-star.

“Ife was awesome this whole weekend,” said Edlund. “She can hit the crap out of the ball, but was amazing on defense and I really think it was her passing that won it for us!” 

Edlund squared off against a few opponents from last year’s BioSteel All-Canadian game in Toronto and joked, “It’s fun to compete against girls I’ve become friends with, but more fun when we win.”

“I’m really excited that I still have a few more months with my team, but I know that this now puts a big target on our backs and I’ll have high expectations for myself,” she explained, and high expectations will continue to be a part of her life and her game going forward.

Nobody is more excited about Edlund’s success than future coach Rachel Dunlap of Northern Arizona University. 

“We can’t wait to get Lauren on campus,” Dunlap said, noting that Edlund was recognized over other Division 1 NCAA recruits in attendance — players headed to Oklahoma, Stanford, Southern California, and High Point. “What a great experience for her,” Dunlap said. Northern Arizona will have to wait another year for Edlund, who is a grade 11 student at Vauxhall High School while she ‘plays up’ with the U18 Dinos.

Locals won’t have to wait long at all to see Lauren in action, though. The Dinos have scheduled a ‘Volleyball Day in Barnwell’ on Saturday, April 27 at Barnwell School, starting at 10 a.m. with scrimmages throughout the day. Attendance is free and is open to the public. All are welcome.

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