Lauren Ching is mastermind of Chambersburg's offense
Several years ago, Lauren Ching faced a hard choice.
She was headed to Chambersburg Area Senior High School playing two sports she was passionate about - field hockey and girls volleyball.
Unfortunately for Ching, both sports are played in the fall, and she had to choose between her two loves.
Ching said she almost chose field hockey, but she's "really glad" she didn't.
So is Chambersburg girls volleyball coach Ty Frelin, as well as the rest of the Trojan faithful. Ching has been a masterful setter for Chambersburg for three years in a row, and she is the Public Opinion Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.
"I like how fast volleyball is," Ching said. "Field hockey is a little slower, and I like the intensity of (volleyball). I just like the fast motion of how the points come right after the other."
Ever since Ching stepped onto the court as a freshman, Frelin has been raving about his up-and-comer. She's not up-and-coming, anymore, though; she's here.
Ching has always been a stellar setter, which is fitting, as she played the position for her entire volleyball career, dating back to fifth grade. This season, the 5-foot-7 junior racked up 526 assists and was named to the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division First Team.
"She reads the court very well," Frelin said. "She anticipates very well, and she's extremely quick. You can't coach that, you can just help improve that. She brings so much to the table."
One mightily impressive thing about Ching is what she does outside the setter's role. Not only did she run the Trojan offense, she also finished second on the team with 163 digs and even added 56 kills of her own.
"First, I like to test the other side and see when I jump set, if they'll jump with me or whether I'll get blocked if I dump it," Ching said. "Also, if the hitters get in a rut and we can't really seem to get past a point, sometimes I'll try to just pick a spot because it'll throw the other team off."
Frelin said, "Her athletic ability is extremely evident. She jumps through the roof, and she has the all-around game. If she wasn't setting, she'd be a very good hitter. She is a very good hitter, even when she is setting. She's always a very good defensive player, too."
Her setting this season was only helped by having two top hitters around her, Haylee Holsopple and Bailee Nitterhouse, who are both Public Opinion First-Team selections. The trio played club volleyball together, and their chemistry was evident.
"I think that helped a lot because we got used to the way that each other played," Ching said. "We had a sense of what each other was capable of on the court, and we could count on each other, I think."
Despite Ching's success this year, her journey is not complete. As a three-year starter, Ching will certainly be a marked woman next season, and she also has some off-the-court goals she would like to achieve.
"I hope I can become a better leader," Ching said. "I've been trying to communicate on the court a little bit more. I think it's the setter's job to take the leadership role, and that's something naturally I'm not very good at, but I'm trying to grow into that role."
If her first three years are any indication, Ching should have no problem achieving those goals.
Lauren Ching file
Sport: Girls volleyball
Parents: Julie and Tanner Ching
Other interests: Lauren also plays beach and club volleyball. She enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Surprising fact: When Ching entered high school, she had to choose between two sports she played in middle school - volleyball and field hockey. She almost chose field hockey.
Favorite team: Penn State women's volleyball
Athlete most admired: Micha Hancock
Statistics: Ching was named to the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division First Team after earning a stellar 526 assists on the season ... She also had 163 digs - good enough for second on the team - and added 56 kills ... From the service line, she had 37 aces and 167 service points.