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Goodell to continue college volleyball career at GMU

Fallbrook High School’s girls’ volleyball team will continue without 2009 graduate Lauren Goodell while Goodell will continue her volleyball career as a member of the George Mason University team.

“I’m so excited and thrilled,” Goodell said of the opportunity to play in college.

“We’re excited to have her,” said George Mason coach Pat Kendrick. “From what I’ve been able to see she’s a hard worker.”

Goodell signed a letter of intent to play with George Mason in April.

“I’m really happy and excited that there are three of us now from Fallbrook who have signed with D1 schools for volleyball,” said Goodell, who joined Warrior classmates Sha’Dere McNeal (Texas) and Erica Wilson (Arizona State) in obtaining Division I college volleyball scholarships.

Goodell was Fallbrook’s setter during the 2008 season and had been with the Warrior varsity since the middle of her sophomore year.

“I’ve gotten an opportunity to play with great girls, so they’ve only made me better,” she said.

“She leads by example,” Fallbrook coach Peter Peng said of Goodell. “She did everything that needs to be done for a team to be successful.”

George Mason University is located in Fairfax, VA, and Goodell had previously lived in Northern Virginia as a military dependent.

She was born in Fallbrook but moved with her family to Alexandria in second grade and spent two years there before returning to Fallbrook.

She attended Bonsall Elementary School and Sullivan Middle School prior to her four years in high school.

Goodell began her volleyball career as a Sullivan sixth-grader. Her sister was in eighth grade at the time and some of her sister’s friends were playing volleyball.

“They said it was really fun,” she said.

Goodell, who is now 5’9”, has been a setter throughout her volleyball career. “I think they needed a setter, so the coaches tried to make me one,” she said.

Goodell spent ninth grade on Fallbrook High School’s junior varsity team. She began her sophomore year on the JV squad before being promoted to the varsity during the season. She was on the varsity as a junior but wasn’t a starter.

“I actually did a lot of back row playing because we needed defensive help,” Goodell said of her senior season.

Goodell’s only season as a starter also produced all-league honors, as the Avocado League coaches bestowed her with honorable mention status.

“[She’s] definitely a competitor,” Peng said of Goodell.

Goodell did not play any other sports at Fallbrook High School but played volleyball year-round.

She began her club career with Oceanside-based SoCal and was initially on the 15-1 team. Her final club was the Temecula-based 951 Elite, where she was on the 18-2 squad.

When she is not in school Goodell also rides horses on a family-owned ranch in Oregon, although as a trail guide rather than as a participant in an equestrian sport.

In addition to George Mason, Goodell was considering offers from Fordham University in New York and Armstrong Atlantic in Savannah.

In the event that she would not be able to play college volleyball, she also applied to Linfield (Oregon), University of Portland, and Oregon State.

Goodell made an official visit to George Mason. “I just really liked it and I could see myself going there,” she said. “It was an easy pick.”

Her familiarity with the Northern Virginia area was also a factor in her selection.

Goodell noted that her letter of intent concluded a period of trying to receive attention from college coaches.

“It’s really intense and finally once you sign this big weight is lifted off your shoulders,” she said.

“She’s got very good skills,” Kendrick said. “A capable setter in terms of running the offense.”

Goodell is currently the backup to junior setter Fernanda Bartels, but Kendrick notes that Goodell could beat out Bartels for the Patriots’ starting job in the future.

“No player on my team has a guaranteed starting spot,” Kendrick said.

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