Laren Baldowsky and Morgan Klein, far right, share a light moment at the season-opening BHS scrimmage Aug. 24 (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Burlington volleyball vies for another state championship

By Mike Ramczyk
Correspondent

OK.

We get it.

Stop fawning over a high school sports team, they say.

Nobody can be THAT good.

Well, those people apparently haven’t encountered the championship machine that calls itself the Burlington High School girls volleyball team.

With top-level coaches guiding 5-year-olds at summer camps, along with their varsity players teaching the youth the game they love, something special has been in the air for the Demons the past decade.

The Demons, who have won four WIAA Division 1 state championships, have also collected countless Southern Lakes Conference titles.

Meanwhile, the team boasts two future Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coaches, Teri Little and Dan Lynch.

While Little enters her 17th season as co-coach, her uncle, Lynch, will be in his 31st season.

In addition, the team seems to have a never-ending pipeline of talent of players, who compete without egos and possesses necessary teamwork.

Though championship banners line the gymnasium at 400 McCanna Parkway, the ultimate goal is simple – have fun, learn, improve every day and winning is second nature.

“The are focused per usual,” co-head coach Little said Tuesday. “They aren’t an outcome-based group.”

“They know that they need to focus on the process in order to achieve positive outcomes, so there is no talk about wins and things like that.”

Teri, we get it, but can we look at this star-studded roster and excite the masses for a moment?

Back in the mix are two players who garnered first team All-State last year, junior libero Sam Naber, who has already committed to Division 1 Marquette University as well as senior setter Kaley Blake, the reigning Conference Player of the Year. Blake plans to attend University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Tack on middle blocker Emily Alan, who earned third team All-State and first team Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area, thanks to her contributions during last year’s state tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

Is a third state title in the cards?

Not necessarily, but don’t be surprised if a sixth consecutive state tournament berth comes this season.

“We hope to compete with the top teams in the conference and throughout the state,” Little said.

It’s still too early to dictate the team’s identity, with the regular season tipping off this week, but Little is excited on her team’s traditional ability to do the little things. They tend to limit mistakes, control the ball and are historically dominant defensively.

As for last year, the Demons finished 39-5, ending with their fourth state championship after defeating Oconomowoc in four games.

The team, however, will be without graduated seniors Maddie Berezowitz, who garnered second team All-State and plays at Division 1 Kentucky, first team All-Conference outside hitter Coley Haggard, Lexi Hill, Grace Peyron and Jordann Huisinga. Huisinga plays at Dubuque University.

Despite the losses, complimenting the trio of Naber, Blake and Alan is a plethora of letter-winners.

Led by seniors Laren Baldowsky (OH), Cayla Gutche (DS) and Claire Walby (DS), the Demons welcome back juniors Amanda Viel (OH), Mackenzie Leach (OH) and Ally Meyerhofer (DS), along with sophomore hitter Morgan Klein, a 6-foot tall force who seemed back and poised to make a difference after an injury-filled freshman season.

Cam Lukenbill, a key contributor last season, is out with an injury.

Like any powerhouse program, the well certainly isn’t dry when it comes to fresh faces.

Juniors Tessa Teberg, Lizzy Stoffel and Victoria Van Dan lead a crop of newcomers, along with sophomores Lydia Biggin, sophomore Fiona McDermit and freshman Abby Alan.

To read the entire story see the Aug. 29 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.