Broncos hoping to contend for SLC crown

Union Grove senior Hailey Hoffman goes up for a kill while Karlee Lois looks on in a recent match against Burlington. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

Soon after the two-day UW-Whitewater Invitational, Union Grove girls volleyball coach Anne Sireno asked the tournament selection committee if Karlee Lois would make the all-tournament team.

Their response was simply, “MVP.”

Lois was the resounding choice for MVP with 140 assists, 44 digs, and 22 kills to lead Union Grove to the UW-Whitewater Invitational championship Saturday, Aug 25.

“The Whitewater coaches select the all-tournament team, and I asked one of them if Karlee got all-tournament team and he said she got MVP,” Sireno said. “She played aggressive offensively and defensively the entire tournament.”

The rest of the Broncos weren’t too shabby either with a 7-0 record at the two-day tournament, including a three-set victory over Milton 25-23, 21-25, 15-11 to clinch the championship.

Olivia Dir led the team in kills the second day with 34 and served four aces. Kelsey Henderson had 48 digs.

“We eased into the tournament with a little easier competition but it got harder throughout the tournament,” Sireno said. “Overall it was a good team effort.”

The Broncos punched their ticket to the championship match after knocking off Lakeside Lutheran 25-16, 25-12, Waterloo 20-25, 25-21, and 15-11.

“On day two in the gold bracket each team had a really good player with players going to division 1 schools,” Sireno said. “So it was our game plan to stop those girls and just execute.”

The first day the Broncos took out Tomahawk (25-10, 25-14), Clinton (25-13, 25-6), and Randolph (25-20, 28-26) before beating Merrill (25-21, 25-9) in the playoff match.

“The Friday playoff match against Merrill was close the first game, but the second game our girls turned it up,” Sireno said. “They also really wanted to catch the football game Friday at Union Grove, and they pretty much dominated and served really tough at them so they couldn’t attack our defense and they cruised to the 25-9 victory.”

The Broncos were equally as impressive winning the Bronco Quad Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Union Grove beat Racine St. Catherine’s (25-21, 25-8), Racine Horlick (25-16, 25-21), and Racine Case (25-11, 25-14).

Dir led the way 23 kills and 5 aces, while Lois had 52 assists, and Kelsey Henderson had 20 digs and four aces. Bailey Berger also had 14 digs and 11 kills and Lainy Pettit had 15 kills.

“Lainy stepped up on the middle position with 15 kills,” Sireno said. “We served aggressively with 25 total aces for the night.”

With the two victories, the Broncos started the season with a 10-0 record. Can this be a sign the Broncos are coming of age?

Sireno certainly is seeing signs.

“We were young the past couple of the seasons, but with eight juniors and one senior on the team a lot of them have been with us for the past two or three seasons,” Sireno said. “I’ve also seen quite a few of them get better since last season.”

The experienced lineup is led by Lois at setter and Dir and Burger as outside hitters.

Berger returns from injury this year in the middle, along with freshman Lainey Pettit in the middle.

Senior Hailey Hoffman will be on the right and in the middle and Kelsey Henderson returns to libero.

The improved Broncos are looking to make the jump in the always-tough Southern Lakes Conference with the likes of perennial powerhouse Burlington, Waterford and Westosha Central.

“Our goal this year is to get into the second spot in conference,” Sireno said. “Obviously you play to win the conference, but at the same time we want to be in the top two.”

If the fast start is any indication, the Broncos are ready to make their move in the Lakes.