Worke is set for success

Published 8:16 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blooming Prairie sophomore setter Madison Worke, middle, has made big strides thanks to her senior hitters Jenna Krell, left and Janelle Morem, right. -- Rocky Hulne/

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Most high school sophomores playing on a varsity team are trying to fit in or figure out how to make an impact against older opponents.

Blooming Prairie setter Madison Worke went through that last year as a freshman and this year she’s on the verge of hitting a milestone that some setters never hit in their career. Just halfway through her second season as a starter, Worke is three set assists away from the 1,000-mark and she’s very likely to hit that milestone when BP plays at Randolph in a volleyball match Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

Worke didn’t know she was close to 1,000 until recently and she’s not about to take all of the credit for getting there.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s exciting,” she said. “But I couldn’t have done it without my passers, my hitters and my coaches.”

BP head coach Gina McLaughlin handed the offense over to Worke last season and she hasn’t looked back since.

“She’s a very coachable kid and she’s making great decisions. For someone so young, it’s really awesome to see and it’s really fun to work with her,” McLaughlin said. “One of her best strengths is that she really wants to put a perfect ball for her hitters. If she thinks she misses, then she feels bad. Madison is a selfless volleyball player and she carries a lot of responsibility.”

BP senior hitter Jenna Krell said that Worke is easy to play with and she’s very good at communicating with her teammates.

“She talks to us about where we want the ball and where we need help,” Krell said. “She’s very flexible and she’s very athletic. It’s been really good working with her.”

BP senior hitter Janelle Morem, who played in the front row for the first time in awhile on Tuesday after recovering from an injury, also enjoys playing with Worke.

“It’s nice to have a long, tall, good setter,” Morem said. “We’ve always had short, little girls as our setters and it’s really nice to have Maddie out there.”

Last season, Morem and Krell went out of their way to help Worke, Taylor Hagen and Nicole Inwards, who all started as freshman a year ago. Morem said the trio has gotten even better this year and the three sophomores are a big reason why the Blossoms are off to one of their better starts in recent years at 11-4 overall.

“We have a solid six out there and it’s nice to be able to depend on every girl when we’re playing,” Morem said.

Setting may look like its as simple as getting the ball to the nearest hitter, but it goes far beyond that. Worke doesn’t usually struggle to get to the ball and she doesn’t even struggle releasing her sets.

It’s where she puts it that is the hardest part.

“You have to know where everyone is and what kind of ball they want,” Worke said. “ You have to know where the blockers are and where everyone on the other side is. Then you need to get your feet behind the ball.”

Worke played varsity basketball and varsity softball as a freshman for BP and she said the state tournament experience was great with the softball team, which finished second in the Class ‘A’ tournament last spring.

But she couldn’t pick a favorite amongst the three.

She just knows good things could be on the horizon this fall.

“We miss our seniors. But it helps that Taylor, Nicole and I know what to expect and we’re ready for varsity (this year),” Worke said. “We’re getting more used to playing with older girls. (Playing in Rochester) would be great. We’re just taking one step at a time.”

BP lost to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in three games earlier in the season and the Blossoms took the Bucs to five games on Tuesday, even though Morem was seeing her first major time in the front row in a quite awhile.

McLaughlin said her squad hasn’t played its best yet.

“It’s nice to have some wins under our belt with one of our starters weakened,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve been growing and we certainly haven’t peaked. There’s potential still to be tapped and we’ve got a great group that’s very coachable and fun to work with.”

Resha Koster currently holds the BP record for set assists in a career at 2,106, but if Worke keeps up the pace she is currently on, she may take that spot by her senior year.