Spartan Spotlight - Lauren Moncks

LANGLEY, British Columbia - A word of advice, if you will, for the next guy who dates one of the four Moncks sisters.

There’s this week during the summer when the Moncks family joins the O’Dwyer family and goes to Kalamalka Lake near Vernon, B.C.

They’ve been going to this one particular condominium since Spartans women’s volleyball setter Lauren, and twin sister and TWU libero Kristen, were toddlers.

And you see, there’s this grassy area in front of the condos where they play volleyball. On most days during the year – you know, the days between that “Moncks/O’Dwyer week – it’s a serene knoll not far from the beach and just a few steps further from the lake.

It sounds pretty. But here’s the advice. If you’re not good at volleyball, you may want to find yourself otherwise occupied that week. Even if you think, you might be good, it’d be better not to try.

From what your agent has learned, you might not get invited back if disaster strikes on the grass courts.

“You don’t really bring a boyfriend unless you know he can handle it,” says Kristen, who is eight minutes older than Lauren. “The games were pretty competitive and they’re still competitive.”

Welcome to the volleyball-playing world that is the Moncks family from Standard, Alta.

And welcome to the life of Lauren.

As short stint watching the grassy summer games and it doesn’t take much more than a quick study to understand why Lauren is so competitive on the hard court. She had to be, or life at Kalamalka Lake would have been short and not so sweet. Her mom and dad, nor her three sisters would have shown much grace.

If volleyball-centric was in the dictionary, the accompanying example would be the Moncks family.

Lauren’s parents, Susan and Randy, both played volleyball at the University of Calgary and both couldn’t get enough of the sport.

To this day, Susan still plays for Canada’s national women’s masters team and Randy plays for Canada’s men’s masters team. So it’s not hard to imagine why all four sisters, including the 6-foot-2 Lauren, who is the tallest of the bunch, became enamoured with the sport.

Coached by her parents throughout high school, it was only made sense that Lauren, who is technically the youngest of the Moncks sisters, had a volleyball in her hands from her first steps. And she loved it.

“It was easy for us, but at the same time our parents were also harder on us,” Lauren says, recalling her childhood playing under the direction of her parents. “My dad is definitely one to push you to your limits. They always wanted us to be good and they knew how much hard work it took. They didn’t want us to get away with not working hard just because our parents were the coaches. They definitely motivated us.”

As the story goes, after older sisters Kathryn and Sarah had come along, Randy still had aspirations of raising a boy. As Lauren tells it, she and Kristen were Randy’s last attempt at a boy. Instead, he got two girls.

Fortunately for Randy, both of those girls, like Kathryn and Sarah, quickly found their way onto the volleyball court.

And for Lauren, she’s done everything in her power to stay there. No matter, the situation, she’s fought to remain on the court.

When Lauren was 15 years old she was diagnosed with scoliosis and had two metal rods inserted in her back to help realign her spine. The result was six months away from sport and specifically six months away from volleyball.

“I couldn’t do anything anymore and I was pretty much going crazy,” Lauren says. “It was hard because it went from everything to nothing instantly.”

But her fiery competitiveness quickly made an appearance and she returned to the court as soon as the doctors allowed.  

The next two years saw her play with the Dinos women’s volleyball club in Calgary where Lauren hones her craft and where she caught the eye of Spartans coach Ryan Hofer.  

Like their parents, both Kathryn and Sarah had played with the University of Calgary, but Lauren fell in love with TWU. She soon signed. And the plan was always to have her become the starting setter by her third year.

But, as Randy can attest, things don’t always arrive as expected.

“I’ve had surprises since my first year at Trinity Western,” Lauren says.

From her first year to her fourth, Lauren has battled for playing time. In her first year, she had Chelsea Hudson and former Canadian national team setter Lauren O’Reilly in front of her. In her second year, she battled Hudson but largely watched from the sidelines. In her third year, it was former Canadian national team setter Kelci French who provided the competition and once again she the year as the back-up.

This year, with French playing professionally in Cypress, the starting job there for the taking. As a fourth-year, few would have guessed anyone else would supplant Lauren.

But after a few tough outings for Lauren, things didn’t go as planned. First-year setter Nikki Cornwall – an impressive athlete in her own right – started to take floor time away from Lauren.

Lauren had seen this story before, but she hadn’t expected it to happen this year.

“It was hard for me but again I took my role as I could,” Lauren says. “I knew I needed to get better anyway. I never wanted it handed to me but I am battling a lot more than I thought I was going to. It’s definitely been a roller coaster of emotions.”

In the final match of the fall semester, Cornwall put together the greatest statistical match in TWU history as she collected a record 64 assists in a win over Manitoba. The first-year star looked to be on the rise.

But Lauren was determined not to let her starting spot slip away.

“I never had the thought of quitting,” Lauren says. “I could never not see myself playing, but it hasn’t been easy.”

Lauren went home to Standard for Christmas. And while there, she found a renewed energy. A special volleyball-loving vigour that perhaps only comes from a family like the Moncks.

“I talked to some of my family and kind of had a different mindset,” Lauren says. “I kind of decided that I had something to prove and I wanted to prove it. I came back from Christmas fired up and practices went well for me.”

When the Moncks sisters gather on the grass courts near Vernon, they often play two-on-two games against the two dads of the families. Like her sisters, Lauren always wants to win. And, so it seems, that’s putting it lightly.

Upon arriving back in Langley after the break, Moncks channeled that desire to win.

“You could tell she was refocused,” says Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “She wanted to get some more playing time and get on the floor and she did that.”

Hofer was impressed enough that he gave her the chance to start in the first weekend back against Mount Royal. Since then, she’s helped the Spartans earn three straight wins and, in the process, they haven’t lost a set.

On Friday against No. 4 ranked UBC Okanagan, she collected 22 assists and three blocks to help the No. 5 Spartans to their 11th win of the season.

You see, winning is in the Moncks’ blood.

While the four sisters played high school volleyball in Standard, the school won seven straight 1A provincial championships. Lauren won in all three years she played on the senior team.

Beyond the big smile and the ever-present off-court laugh, Lauren is as fiery of a winner as they come.

And now that she’s got the starting gig, she doesn’t plan to let go of it anytime soon.

Some people are born to play a sport. Some people are trained to play a sport.

Lauren was both.

A word of advice, if you will, for the next guy who dates one of the four Moncks sisters.

 

There’s this week during the summer when the Moncks family joins the O’Dwyer family and goes to Kalamalka Lake near Vernon, B.C.

 

They’ve been going to this one particular condominium since Spartans women’s volleyball setter Lauren, and twin sister and TWU libero Kristen, were toddlers.

 

And you see, there’s this grassy area in front of the condos where they play volleyball. On most days during the year – you know, the days between that “Moncks/O’Dwyer week – it’s a serene knoll not far from the beach and just a few steps further from the lake.

 

It sounds pretty. But here’s the advice. If you’re not good at volleyball, you may want to find yourself otherwise occupied that week. Even if you think, you might be good, it’d be better not to try.

 

From what your agent has learned, you might not get invited back if disaster strikes on the grass courts.

 

“You don’t really bring a boyfriend unless you know he can handle it,” says Kristen, who is eight minutes older than Lauren. “The games were pretty competitive and they’re still competitive.”

 

Welcome to the volleyball-playing world that is the Moncks family from Standard, Alta.

 

And welcome to the life of Lauren.

 

As short stint watching the grassy summer games and it doesn’t take much more than a quick study to understand why Lauren is so competitive on the hard court. She had to be, or life at Kalamalka Lake would have been short and not so sweet. Her mom and dad, nor her three sisters would have shown much grace.

 

If volleyball-centric was in the dictionary, the accompanying example would be the Moncks family.

 

Lauren’s parents, Susan and Randy, both played volleyball at the University of Calgary and both couldn’t get enough of the sport.

 

To this day, Susan still plays for Canada’s national women’s masters team and Randy plays for Canada’s men’s masters team. So it’s not hard to imagine why all four sisters, including the 6-foot-2 Lauren, who is the tallest of the bunch, became enamoured with the sport.

 

Coached by her parents throughout high school, it was only made sense that Lauren, who is technically the youngest of the Moncks sisters, had a volleyball in her hands from her first steps. And she loved it.

 

“It was easy for us, but at the same time our parents were also harder on us,” Lauren says, recalling her childhood playing under the direction of her parents. “My dad is definitely one to push you to your limits. They always wanted us to be good and they knew how much hard work it took. They didn’t want us to get away with not working hard just because our parents were the coaches. They definitely motivated us.”

 

As the story goes, after older sisters Kathryn and Sarah had come along, Randy still had aspirations of raising a boy. As Lauren tells it, she and Kristen were Randy’s last attempt at a boy. Instead, he got two girls.

 

Fortunately for Randy, both of those girls, like Kathryn and Sarah, quickly found their way onto the volleyball court.

 

And for Lauren, she’s done everything in her power to stay there. No matter, the situation, she’s fought to remain on the court.

 

When Lauren was 15 years old she was diagnosed with scoliosis and had two metal rods inserted in her back to help realign her spine. The result was six months away from sport and specifically six months away from volleyball.

 

“I couldn’t do anything anymore and I was pretty much going crazy,” Lauren says. “It was hard because it went from everything to nothing instantly.”

 

But her fiery competitiveness quickly made an appearance and she returned to the court as soon as the doctors allowed.  

 

The next two years saw her play with the Dinos women’s volleyball club in Calgary where Lauren hones her craft and where she caught the eye of Spartans coach Ryan Hofer.  

 

Like their parents, both Kathryn and Sarah had played with the University of Calgary, but Lauren fell in love with TWU. She soon signed. And the plan was always to have her become the starting setter by her third year.

 

But, as Randy can attest, things don’t always arrive as expected.

 

“I’ve had surprises since my first year at Trinity Western,” Lauren says.

 

From her first year to her fourth, Lauren has battled for playing time. In her first year, she had Chelsea Hudson and former Canadian national team setter Lauren O’Reilly in front of her. In her second year, she battled Hudson but largely watched from the sidelines. In her third year, it was former Canadian national team setter Kelci French who provided the competition and once again she the year as the back-up.

 

This year, with French playing professionally in Cypress, the starting job there for the taking. As a fourth-year, few would have guessed anyone else would supplant Lauren.

 

But after a few tough outings for Lauren, things didn’t go as planned. First-year setter Nikki Cornwall – an impressive athlete in her own right – started to take floor time away from Lauren.

 

Lauren had seen this story before, but she hadn’t expected it to happen this year.

 

“It was hard for me but again I took my role as I could,” Lauren says. “I knew I needed to get better anyway. I never wanted it handed to me but I am battling a lot more than I thought I was going to. It’s definitely been a roller coaster of emotions.”

 

In the final match of the fall semester, Cornwall put together the greatest statistical match in TWU history as she collected a record 64 assists in a win over Manitoba. The first-year star looked to be on the rise.

 

But Lauren was determined not to let her starting spot slip away.

 

“I never had the thought of quitting,” Lauren says. “I could never not see myself playing, but it hasn’t been easy.”

 

Lauren went home to Standard for Christmas. And while there, she found a renewed energy. A special volleyball-loving vigour that perhaps only comes from a family like the Moncks.

 

“I talked to some of my family and kind of had a different mindset,” Lauren says. “I kind of decided that I had something to prove and I wanted to prove it. I came back from Christmas fired up and practices went well for me.”

 

When the Moncks sisters gather on the grass courts near Vernon, they often play two-on-two games against the two dads of the families. Like her sisters, Lauren always wants to win. And, so it seems, that’s putting it lightly.

 

Upon arriving back in Langley after the break, Moncks channeled that desire to win.

 

“You could tell she was refocused,” says Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “She wanted to get some more playing time and get on the floor and she did that.”

 

Hofer was impressed enough that he gave her the chance to start in the first weekend back against Mount Royal. Since then, she’s helped the Spartans earn three straight wins and, in the process, they haven’t lost a set.

 

On Friday against No. 4 ranked UBC Okanagan, she collected 22 assists and three blocks to help the No. 5 Spartans to their 11th win of the season.

 

You see, winning is in the Moncks’ blood.

 

While the four sisters played high school volleyball in Standard, the school won seven straight 1A provincial championships. Lauren won in all three years she played on the senior team.

 

Beyond the big smile and the ever-present off-court laugh, Lauren is as fiery of a winner as they come.

 

And now that she’s got the starting gig, she doesn’t plan to let go of it anytime soon.

 

Some people are born to play a sport. Some people are trained to play a sport.


Lauren was both.

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 2014-01-21
Author: Mark Janzen

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