Lauryn Burt is not the biggest volleyball player.
Nor is she the strongest, most gifted or the top NCAA Division I recruit in town.
But what the Liberty senior has is “the package,” as described by her head coach.
“It's the little things. It’s not how she looks or the power she has,” Liberty coach Amy Parker said. “It’s all the little things that add up the package. She’s a threat no matter where she is on the court.”
Burt is a two-year captain for the Patriots, a floor general and coach on the court.
Burt is also the 2017 BVarsity All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year.
During her career as a four-year starter for Liberty, the Patriots went from a team that went 2-8 in the Southwest Yosemite League in 2014 to a Central Section Division I runner-up her sophomore year.
Then as a first-time captain, the Patriots, led by 2016 BVarsity Player of the Year Brooklynn Cheney, won the program’s first D-I title.
The Patriots lost three starters to college athletics from that championship team and the responsibility of keeping the Patriots on top fell squarely on the waiting shoulders of Burt.
“Being a captain these two years, it showed me a lot,” Burt said. “As a junior I learned to not overstep our seniors while also having a leadership role. Then coming into my senior year, I knew I had my little freshmen and our new girls that I was so eager to teach them anything they didn’t know.”
Burt has been one of the most well-rounded players in the section. A natural setter, Burt shared that role with first-team selection Elise Ferreira.
“I love setting,” Burt said. “There is a joke that my family says that, ‘Setting is my passion’ and making it a joke. But in reality, it really is. It’s what I plan on doing in college. I’m not very tall.”
Despite the height disadvantage, Burt was also second on the team in kills with 231 and had 202 digs and 40 aces.
“That was a huge role in itself,” Burt said. “Because I tell my girls where to hit and I tell them where I want my pass. But also switching and having Elise set me, I had to be the one that puts balls on the floor for her. I had to do both of those roles.”
But it was her intangibles that set her apart.
“You can see the passion and drive she plays with every time she steps on the court,” Parker said. “People see it. They see the passion and the leadership quality. She is the backbone of our team. We would be a totally different team and not because of her physical attributes but of her attitude and what she brings to the team.”
It was also her leadership.
“She knows when someone needs to be picked up or when someone has the hot hand and needs the ball or someone just needing a pat on the back,” Parker said. “She plays the game for more than herself, but for the whole to be successful.”
The Patriots lost to Clovis-Buchanan in the D-I section semifinals in four sets. The Patriots sat and waited to see if they would advance to the CIF State Southern California Regionals.
Liberty did, and beat Studio City-Harvard Westlake on the road in the opening round on a historic night, as the Patriots and Garces became the first Kern County teams to win SoCal D-I regional openers.
Understanding the importance of enjoying high school athletics, Burt, who is still deciding where she will play college volleyball, was quick to say how much fun she had at Liberty the last four years.
“I’ve had the best high school experience I think any high school athlete would want to have,” Burt said. “We have a really great student section and such supportive staff members. I think all of my teachers this year went to at least three of my matches this year. I’m not saying one. Literally, three or more.”