Schaumburg Christian volleyball star latest sister in family to play in college
Like many kids, Lauren Cummings grew up learning music.
"My parents had us in piano lessons and the choir," Cummings said. "Then we did hand bells."
Cummings is the third of four Cummings sisters. She fell into line behind her older sisters Paetyn and Bailey, both of whom opened the door for Lauren to the world of hand bells.
Paetyn and Bailey and now Lauren have been a part of 11 consecutive national high school championships for hand bells (think of a choir ringing beautiful hand bells in sync with the melodies of songs).
Youngest sister Brenna is in line to join the hand bell program at perennial power Schaumburg Christian when she starts ninth grade next year.
Likewise, all four sisters have and will leave an indelible family mark at Schaumburg Christian in another area.
The Cummings sisters are all standout volleyball players there as well. And so far, they are 3-for-3 in landing college volleyball scholarships.
Lauren is the latest. Last week, the 17-year-old Schaumburg Christian senior outside hitter signed her national letter of intent to play at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic University. Paetyn, now 24, started it all when she got a scholarship to Colorado Christian and then transferred to Cornerstone University. Bailey, now 22, played for four years at Cornerstone.
With Lauren keeping the streak going, youngest Brenna is up next and is already hopeful, off to a good start with her club team, Pipeline, the same club that was home to her older sisters.
"I remember all of us saying when we were younger that we wanted to play college volleyball," Lauren Cummings said. "It would be cool if we all do it. That would give us some bragging rights as a family."
The Cummings family already holds bragging rights as the most involved family in Schaumburg Christian volleyball history.
Besides the fact that all of the sisters have played volleyball at Schaumburg Christian, mother Alice was the head varsity coach there for 20 years up until four years ago when she retired so that she could watch her older daughters play in college and be just a mom in the stands for Lauren and Brenna.
Meanwhile, dad Robert, while Alice was the head coach, routinely drove the team bus to games and also did the scorebook and video.
Robert and Alice met at Schaumburg Christian in fourth grade, and were high school sweethearts there.
"Volleyball is a big part of our family," Lauren Cummings said. "When I was a toddler, I was going to all of my mom's games and practices. I'd be running around or passing (volleyballs) with my dad. Sometimes, I'd do my homework there. When I got older, I'd play with the girls. I was always there."
Like her sisters, Cummings soaked in all kinds of volleyball knowledge from her mother.
"Alice was an amazing coach," said Schaumburg Christian varsity volleyball coach Katie VanderKooi, who coached under Alice and took over for her when she retired. "To follow her, those were some big shoes to fill. But I learned a lot from her. She set high expectations for her players and for her daughters. Lauren and her sisters got really good support and training from home."
All three of the older Cummings sisters are outside hitters, with Lauren being the shortest at 5-foot-9. Bailey is 5-11 and Paetyn is 5-10. Lauren also has keen passing skills.
"Lauren is really good on defense," VanderKooi said. "I can rely on her to pick up the hardest hits. She's a smart player, she's always in position and she's a really good passer.
"But really, I can put her anywhere. We've had her at setter, too. She's strong no matter what position she plays, and she always has so much energy. A lot of times, when parents are into something, and older siblings are too, there's pressure for you to like it, too. But Lauren has such a love and genuine passion for volleyball. I think that shows in the way she plays. That has definitely shaped her as a volleyball player."
Hand bells has, too.
Cummings, an A-student, says that music has given her good balance in her life.
She's glad she also followed her sisters' lead in hand bells.
"Volleyball can be hard sometimes, and hand bells has been a nice break," Cummings said. "I think music helps you in sports, it helps your brain and helps you be well-rounded. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but my sisters did it so I tried it, and I really liked it."