Lake excels as the Broncos’ all-around player

By Erik Carr

Diana Lake does not talk a big game.

Before any given match, the junior outside hitter does a light
run to warm up and in the hours leading up to game time, she thinks
about what she plans to do against the competition or turns on the
TV and watches a televised volleyball contest.

“I’m always thinking about volleyball,” said Lake, a member of
the Cal Poly Pomona volleyball team. “I’m always prepared,
visualizing what I’m going to do on the court.”

It’s this focus that has allowed her to reap the benefits of her
determination, and she lets the stat sheet speak for itself.

“She’s not a real vocal leader, but more [she leads] by example
and she does them both, on and off the court,” said redshirt senior
outside hitter Courtney Alberi.

This season Lake has accumulated a team-best 116 kills, 2.00
kills per game, 394 total attacks and eight service aces.

Head coach Rosie Wegrich has seen her mature as a player and has
mentored her along the way.

“She’s become an all-around player, and that means she’s a
really good passer-hitter; I call it ‘the play developer,'” said
Wegrich.

“Diana, being a junior, she’s worked really hard to [get] where
she is and the last three weeks, her game has soared.”

Though not as tall as the average player, the 5-foot-10-inch
Lake compensates with her swiftness and endurance on the court.

“She’s a starter and a finisher; she doesn’t sit out that much,”
Wegrich said. “What she does is stability for our team, and she
plays six rotations; she doesn’t come out, and that saves us.”

As her teammate for three years, Alberi has also seen Lake’s
growth as a player, especially this season.

“She’s really kind of come into her own as a player and as a
upperclassman on the team,” Alberi said. “She’s been putting up
really good numbers statistically for us, and then, she’s been a
leader off the court as well.”

The Covina native’s playing ability has allowed the Broncos to
have its best stretch of playing in a while, but the personality
she projects off the court with her teammates, friends and family
could be just as important as the positive energy she has presented
on the court.

It could be said that Lake is a believer in the saying “laughter
is the best medicine.”

“[Laughter] makes me feel good,” Lake said. “Me and my friends
laugh a lot; that’s all we do is laugh. I’m not a very serious
person. When it comes to volleyball, I’m serious. But outside of
volleyball, I am very outgoing. [I] like to laugh, have fun and
talk to people.”

Originally a soccer player, it was Lake’s disinterest and her
tall figure that led her to compete in club volleyball during her
junior year of high school.

As the senior captain, she led her team to the playoffs and
earned First-Team All-League and Second-Team All-San Gabriel Valley
honors.

It was through her club connections that led her to play for
CPP.

Wegrich said she first saw Lake play in a tournament and saw
several quality aspects of her playing ability.

“Diana is a kind of a player that has a lighthearted approach to
this game, but I also think that she’s a serious player so there’s
kind of that balance in her,” Wegrich said.

Entering CPP in the fall of 2009 as a sociology student, Lake
became interested in graphic design and switched her major to that
discipline while also minoring in philosophy. She said her
experiences in volleyball have prepared her in her studies, and
vice versa.

“In volleyball, you always have to be aware of what your coach
wants as well as your own kind of style of playing, and I think
that’s the same in graphic design,” Lake said. “If I’m working for
a person, [and] they want it a certain way, I always have to put in
my own style but listen to what they’re trying to put in so it’s
more like coaching.

Though she has a year of eligibility remaining after this
season, Lake has unique abilities that will be hard to restore.

“Her speed,” Wegrich said. “That’s going to be hard [to]

replace Diana.”

Alberi said Lake’s consistent play and dependability would also
be difficult to perform without.

Lake has formed a strong bond with her teammates over the years,
and that is her favorite part of playing volleyball. She considers
their Sept. 30 win at Cal State Los Angeles her favorite
memory.

“I especially love my teammates,” Lake said. “The camaraderie we
have, it’s kind of like our own little family. That’s one of the
main things and then also the feeling you get after winning a game,
after you know you worked hard.”

When not playing volleyball, Lake will either spend time with
her supportive family or do an activity that allows her to bring
out her optimistic personality.

“I hang out with my family a lot; I’m [a] home body,” Lake said.
“But I also love to watch ‘The Office,’ my favorite show. So
probably what I do the most when I’m at home is just relaxing, go
to the beach, go to the movies, [but] mostly hang out with my
family.”

After she graduates, Lake hopes to work for a nonprofit
organization in which she will be able to utilize her graphic
design skills.

As for her philosophy on life, Lake said being kind to others is
a rewarding practice.

“I just try to be as happy as I can and as nice as I can to
other people so I basically believe in karma; what goes around,
comes around,” Lake said. “If you’re a good person, good things
will happen to you.”

Diana Lake

Taylor Vincent / The Poly Post

Diana Lake

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