Lugus Leads Patriots to Success
October 14, 2014
She stands at an intimidating six feet tall. She can spike the ball at 40 miles per hour. She began playing competitive volleyball in sixth grade and continued on to play for Albemarle’s varsity volleyball team this year. She is junior Stephanie Lugus.
Lugus is passionate about the game of volleyball and is a key player on the team as she is one of the tallest players. Lugus’ success as middle hitter may be the X-factor that Albemarle’s volleyball team needs for a state championship this year.
“Stephanie has really worked hard to improve her skill level in all areas. Her net play has been a strong force for us this season,” coach Mark Ragland said. “She is one of the stronger net players that is on the team right now.”
Lugus has to work just as hard off the court as she does on it, balancing athletics with academics which results in a lack of sleep. Lugus admitted to getting only five to seven hours of sleep per night due to balancing an honors and college-level schedule.
“It can be pretty hard sometimes, but it’s all about managing your time,” Lugus explained. “After practice I’ll do my homework until it gets done, I’ll [also] try and do it for the next day on game days because I get home late and don’t have a lot of time to do it.”
During these game days, Lugus plays middle hitter. The setter passes her the ball close to the net and she attacks it, spiking it at close to the speed of a car on Route 29. Lugus also leads the team with 16.5 stuff blocks and a .337 attack percentage on the year so far.
“Stephanie has brought a lot of stability on offense and strong defense at the net,” Ragland said. “She leads the team in hitting percentage and blocks.”
Lugus is looking beyond stats and a potential state championship.
“I love the intensity of the game, especially playing harder teams, [also] the support and relationships you build through the game. I have met some of the best people through volleyball,” Lugus said.
“It all truly makes me happy to be with my team and building myself into not only a better player but surrounding myself with good people and coaches, forming myself into a better person off the court as well.”
Lugus is focused on her team, teamwork and success. Most of all, Lugus is thankful for her team’s support.
“My favorite thing about my team is how encouraging everyone is of each other,” Lugus said. “It’s super important to have that in a team so we can all play together as one and motivate each other to play the best we can.”
Lugus and the rest of the volleyball team keep their chemistry at a high level by keeping each other up even after making a mental mistake.
Whenever I mess up or do something stupid she’s the one to say, ‘Hey, you got it the next time,’” junior Cindy Yu said.
In volleyball you don’t simply surround yourself with players, you form bonds and connections with them. Lugus has personal handshakes with Yu and junior Ellie Benning and along with the team’s handshakes before each set and after aces.
“It always puts a smile on my face,” Yu said. “It pumps me up before the game.”
Lugus tried putting the hand gestures into words.
“Cindy’s is really fancy and dancy and Ellie’s is pretty ‘hood,’” Lugus explained.
Volleyball hopes to improve their three-loss season by keeping their chemistry strong and winning tough games. At the time of printing the patriots held a record of 11-2 with losses only to Broad Run and interconference rivals Fluvanna.
See Lugus in action along with the rest of the Lady Patriots as they host Western Albemarle on Oct. 14 at 7:00 PM.