By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

Sometimes it just takes a year to adapt to varsity sports.

Just ask the talented sophomores on the Union Grove girls volleyball team.

After taking their lumps in the rugged Southern Lakes Conference last year, the battle-tested sophomores look to lead the way for the Broncos this season.

Sophomores Olivia Dir (outside hitter), Karlee Lois (setter), Kelsey Henderson (defensive specialist), Allison Lentz (defensive specialist/outside hitter) and Abbie Hogan (outside hitter) have already shown their noticeable improvement early this season, leading the Broncos to an impressive fifth place finish out of 29 teams at the UW-Whitewater Invite Aug. 25-26.

 

Lois

“We are doing well and some of the core group of freshmen are now sophomores,” Union Grove girls volleyball coach Annie Sireno said. “Now as sophomores, they are becoming leaders on the court.”

While the sophomores begin taking leadership roles, the Broncos will still rely on senior outside hitter Becca Borowski and senior middle hitter Taylor Clark to be the main leaders this season.

“Taylor and Becca are both stepping up for us as leaders,” Sireno said. “Taylor is a good teammate and good communicator and Becca will be moving around between outside and right side hitter.”

Borowski’s position will vary as the Broncos switch between running a 6-2 and a 5-1. The Broncos have run a 6-2 a bit more, utilizing senior setter Sam Willkomm.

The Broncos appear to be set on the back line with Henderson and Olivia Dir leading the way.

Joining the experienced group is a pair of up-and-coming freshmen, middle hitter Lainy Pettit and defensive specialist Bella Kasuboski.

“Our two freshmen will see time this season,” Sireno said. “In fact, Lainy was starting for us at our quad and is still competing for a starting middle right spot. But both freshmen are already growing as players. Lainy is quiet, so we are trying to get her to open up a bit.”

Junior middle hitter Hailey Hoffman also figures to be in the mix for the Grove.

The improved Broncos will once again have plenty of competition in the Southern Lakes Conference. Back-to-back state qualifier Burlington figures to be strong again, while Westosha Central and Waterford will challenge for the top spot.

The Broncos expect to finish in the top half of the Lakes, and will attempt to chisel their way into the top three.

“We will definitely be in the top half of the Lakes competing for the top three spots,” Sireno said. “But Burlington, Westosha, and Waterford are tough schools and all three will be tough to beat.”

With the experience gained from last year’s team that lost in a regional semifinal playoff game, along with a tough Southern Lakes Conference, the Broncos look to improve from last season’s finish.

Lady Broncos fifth at Whitewater

The Union Grove girls volleyball team had an impressive showing at the UW-Whitewater Invite Aug 24-25. The Broncos went 6-2 at the two-day event with victories against Fall River, St. Joseph, Whitewater, Jefferson, Waterloo, and Oak Creek.

Lois led the way for the Broncos with 16 kills, six blocks, 32 digs and 54 assists the second day. Henderson chipped in 14 aces, 26 kills, four blocks, and 34 digs to help lead the way on the first day.

The Broncos look to continue their fast start Thursday when they travel to Waterford.

 

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