Targets are painted big and bright on the backs of every player on her team. Nobody in the state can miss the huge bull's-eye prominently portrayed alongside Lone Peak Knights, but nobody in the state has come close to defeating the No. 1 team in the state with one of the most impressive setters and servers Utah prep volleyball has to offer.
Lacey Laycock now finds herself in the Utah high school record books after slicing down 13 service aces in a match against American Fork a couple of weeks ago. She broke the record of 12 after starting the three-game match with seven straight, taking the heart out of the Cavemen in the process.
"We all got really pumped up for that game," said the new state record-holder. "I just wanted to serve my ball and pace myself, then I got really excited and broke the record. I didn't realize how many I was serving until the end of the match, and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I could break the record."'
Laycock isn't lacking in confidence, but the 5-foot-7 setter is truly humble and gives her teammates, coaches and parents credit for much of the success in her young life. Her dad gets the nod for some of her serving talents, especially in critical moments.
"He gave me game situations and helped me put myself under pressure," said Laycock about her father. She grew up jump serving and serving hard every time, not caring if it was in or out. And now she has a diving serve that is plain tough to return.
"It just drops," said Lone Peak coach Deanna Meyer about her setter's jump serve, happy when Laycock is serving to her tough standards of two aces to every error.
And she's happy with Laycock's setting prowess too. The senior quarterback has a knack for setting the right teammate in the right place at the right time. And that can be a difficult task even when you have a team jam-packed with tough hitters.
"It's good for competition. I like having so many options," Laycock noted, so happy with her teammates that she adds her high school team could compete with any club team in the state. That statement is high praise considering some of the club teams in this state are hand-picked from tremendous talent.
But the thing that makes it all possible is the fact that even though her team is deep and talented and a supremely competitive bunch, the "camaraderie is terrific."
She doesn't worry about making sure the players get their touches, and they don't complain. She just allows the game itself to tell her where she should place her sets.
"A lot is dictated by what's on the other side, where the block is," said Laycock, who loves the fact that she gets to touch the ball almost every time it comes over the net.
"I like to kind of run things," Laycock added, noting that when she watched her older sister Larissa play, "I always watched how the setter got to touch every ball and decided who got to hit what."
Her club coaches decided she had the potential to be a setter, and she's worked that potential ever since.
"I set 600 balls a night my freshman and sophomore years, but it was all worth it," she noted.
And even though she's a determined volleyball player and gives it her all every time she steps on the court, the 17-year-old has many other talents and responsibilities as well.
The ex-ballet dancer plays the harp, though her mom would have preferred both she and her sister stick with dancing. She's been playing for nine years, ever since she saw her sister performing in a concert and noticed a young girl playing the tough instrument.
Never shy, Laycock noted, "I stood up on a chair and said, 'why am I not playing that?"'
Soon after, she got her harp and has loved playing ever since.
But Laycock isn't one to like much down time, so even though year-round volleyball, harp practice and advanced placement classes might seem like enough for some people, she decided to add service to her resume and run for student council.
She won and is now senior class vice president.
"I love it that way, being busy. I don't like to be bored, so I do as much as I can."
And she plans to keep it that way the rest of her life as she's thinking about going into intellectual property law and following in her father's footsteps.One of the perks she sees to his career is the travel, but right now she's much more concerned about getting her team to the state championship match for the fifth year in a row and giving her all to grab that crown after a two-year drought.
E-mail: [email protected]