Volleyball: Blossoms best Wolverines

Published 10:18 pm Monday, October 24, 2011

Blooming Prairie freshman Madison Worke makes a set as Glenville/Emmons' Jamie Williamson, left, and Mandi Ziebell look on in Blooming Prairie Monday. The Awesome Blossoms beat the Wolverines in three games in a Section 1A West Division tournament match. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — The Awesome Blossoms continue to grow up.

With three freshman in the starting lineup and their top hitter sidelined, Blooming Prairie leaned on its younger players in a 25-5, 25-13, 25-5 win over No. 11 Glenville/Emmons in the opening round of the Section 1A West Division volleyball tournament Monday.

The three freshman all stepped up in their postseason debut as Madison Worke led BP with 27 assists, Nicole Inwards led with nine aces and Taylor Hagen led with 11 kills.

Blooming Prairie's Taylor Hagen blocks a hit at the net against Glenville/Emmons in BP Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

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“We’re a lot more confident than when we started the year,” Hagen, who added five blocks, said.

BP head coach Gina McLaughlin said she was recently watching tape of one of BP’s earlier matches this season and it was easy to see how far her team’s younger starters have come along. She was also quick to point out that the upperclassmen have done their part as well.

“I have to give credit to the older kids because they’ve given them guidance,” McLaughlin said. “It really is a combined effort, young and old. The older kids have been nice all season long, so the younger kids have been comfortable and that makes a big difference.”

No. 4 BP (17-12 overall) started the first and third games on a strong note as Worke opened the match by serving six straight points in the opener. Inwards added an eight-point serving run that made it 15-1 and she put together a 14-point serving run in the third game that made it 16-1.

Despite her success, Inwards was still feeling a little pressure as she competed in he first ever elimination contest.

“There’s always nerves when you’re playing against someone older than you with more experience,” she said. “But we’ve grown as a team.”

Blooming Prairie's Nicole Inwards goes up for a hit against Glenville/Emmons in BP Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The Wolverines (4-21 overall) showed a little fight in the second game as they tied it up at 10. But the Blossoms bounced back when Lizz Willert served an ace and Marissa Jensen put down a kill to make it 15-11. Sami Weringa served six straight points to end that game.

BP has had to make some adjustments recently as junior hitter Janelle Morem went down for the season with an injury.

“It takes multiple players to replace Janelle,” McLaughlin said.

Inwards is one of those players as she moved from libero to hitter and she said the team had to make some changes without Morem, who still provides support from the sideline.

“She was a big part of our team and she was our key communicator,” Inwards said. “She got our team going and we had to learn how to play with each other (without Janelle).”

BP will play at No. 3 Kenyon/Wanamingo (14-11 overall) Thursday at 7 p.m.

at No. 3 Kenyon/Wanamingo Thursday

BP stats: Taylor Hagen, 11 kills, 5 blocks; Madison Worke, 1 kill, 1 ace, 27 assists, 4 digs; Nicole Inwards, 3 kills, 9 aces, 7 digs; Jenna Krell, 9 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 1 block; Marissa Jensen, 7 kills, 1 block; Shelbi Swenson, 2 kills, 3 assists, 2 digs, 1 block; Sami Weringa, 3 aces, 3 digs; Hannah Sunde, 4 digs