Mountain View senior volleyball player Lucas LaRue made quite a statement for the Eagles’ in their two victories to start the season this past week. His ferocious kills, blocks and spikes helped ignite a team motivated to build on the success of last season in which it returned to the District 2 Class AA playoffs.
So just how big is LaRue’s presence on the court for the Eagles? What was his offseason like? He answers those questions, what his teammates are like and even has a bit of an NBA prediction concerning his favorite team in this week’s edition of ATHLETE OF THE WEEK:
You seemed like you were able to take over both games with your kills and blocks. How big is that for the team? It gets us pumped up. Whenever I get a kill, the team is pumped up for me and it’s the same for with everybody else. We like to stay loud and ferocious and make sure everyone knows what we’re doing.
What were those first couple of weeks prior to the season starting like? Just trying to get chemistry and trying to get everybody’s situations down — what they want to do, how they want to hit, how they’re going to play. We just tried to make sure we put together the best lineup that’s going to give us the best chance to win throughout the season.
What did you do in the offseason to prepare yourself for this year? This past summer I did an outdoor league up in the New Milford area. During the fall, I worked with the girls team trying to help them. I was just keeping myself in the game. And in the winter, I did basketball and played AAU with Northeast Alliance Volleyball Club. North Pocono’s Jud Holdredge and Western Wayne’s Tim Snyder were my coaches. I attribute a lot to them. They’ve helped me a lot the past few years.
What was it like training with the girls team? It was something to do. They have good potential to be good so I wanted to be able to train them as well as I could.
Obviously, the weather in the winter was terrible but you play a sport that’s not affected by it. What has it been like to get your season started when other teams in your school are just waiting around hoping for the weather to break? I hear a lot of bickering going on about that kind of stuff. A lot of people get really made not being able to play every week. I’m happy that we don’t have to worry about that. I couldn’t stand not being able to play.
What’s it like going to different tournaments and competing against teams you won’t see during the regular season? It’s good to get out there and go against some different competition. We get to get a feel for what our team’s going to look like. It’s really helpful because we get to play all day and just make sure that we get better over the course of the day.
What’s this team like not just on the court but off of it? We’re a funny bunch. We’re an island of misfit toys. We’re just really goofy together and we like to have fun. But we know when to get serious and when to put it together and make sure to play the way that we’re capable of.
So who’s the biggest misfit? Definitely Bryan Owens. He’s the funniest guy. He’s always trying to keep the spirits up.
What’s your outlook for the rest of the season? As long as we keep getting better and getting to a spot where we have a chance to win the league and a chance to do well in districts, that’s our goal.
What are your post-graduation plans? I’m either going to attend Kutztown or Bloomsburg University and probably major in criminal justice. I’ll also probably play club volleyball.
A little bit off topic to close but since you say you’re a big Oklahoma City Thunder fan, what’s your outlook on them with the recent news of Kevin Durant missing the rest of the season? Kevin Durant’s leaving after next year. He’s going to go to Washington and Russell Westbrook’s just going to take over the team. That’s my prediction. They might be the eighth or seventh seed in this year’s playoffs. They would still be a pretty scary team to face I think.