Members of the Union Grove girls volleyball support each other before they met with Burlington in the Southern Lakes Conference opener on Thursday (Jason Arndt/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

By Tim Wester

The UW-Whitewater Invitational girls volleyball tournament is proving to be the ideal tool to recruit Union Grove volleyball players.

After winning the 24-team tournament for a second straight season, the Williams Center on the campus of UW-Whitewater is becoming a second home for Union Grove.

The Broncos won all eight of their matches at the 2-day tournament, including a two-set victory over Waterloo in the championship match Friday and Saturday August 30-31.

“Our last two matches of the tournament had a few strong players and our team dialed in their weaknesses,” said Union Grove coach Annie Sireno, who played college volleyball at UW-Whitewater. “It was a team effort to win the championship.”

The Broncos’ exemplary team effort was on display on the first day, beating Bloomer (25-10, 25-17), Clinton (25-11, 25-15), and Merrill (25-18, 25-16) to win their pool.
Bailey Berger, who tore her ACL at the UW-Whitewater Invitational last season, returned in style with 23 kills, 26 digs, and four aces.

“Bailey played great in the back row,” Sireno said. “She made scrappy plays to keep the ball alive. Our offense was a dynamic asset to our success with 101 kills overall.”

Berger was also strong on the second day to help lead the Broncos to victories over Kenosha St. Joseph (25-13, 25-14), Jefferson (25-15, 25-15), Lakeside Lutheran (25-21, 25-14) and Waterloo.

“Bailey played amazing our final two matches of the day,” Sireno said. “She was a force at the offensively, mixing up her shots. Karlee was voted to the All-tournament team.”

Berger had 28 kills, 23 digs, and 5 aces, while Karlee Lois had 71 assists, 29 digs, 7 kills and 5 aces. Olivia Dir had 33 kills 20 digs, and 5 aces and Kelsey Henderson had 35 digs, 13 assists, and 7 aces.

The Broncos looked to continue their hot start tomorrow when they compete at the Kettle Moraine Lutheran tournament.