Last year had its highs and lows for the Lake Mills volleyball team, and it ended with the eventual state champions, Dike New-Hartford, in the regional championship game.
Though disappointing to lose, it was the first time the Bulldogs had been to a regional championship in two seasons, and they at times battled with Dike. The Wolverines proved at the state tournament they were the undisputed best team. They rolled to the title, winning all three of their matches 3-0.
That’s Lake Mills coach Jim Boehmer, who is entering his 30th season as the head coach. He has won 887 matches and helped Lake Mills win 15 of the last 17 conference titles. In that span, Lake Mills has lost only two regular-season conference matches, both to Forest City. In the past 128 conferences matches, Lake Mills has won 126 of them, including 111 straight.
This year, the Bulldogs bring back players with experience playing key roles for the first time in 2020. Though, they will miss Kylie Greenfield, who was a true do-it-all player. Greenfield was a first-team all-conference hitter who also picked up all-district honors. Greenfield might be gone now, but she left a lasting impact on the current players as a leader. Junior Ellie Hanna will be looked on to help in the Bulldogs front row.
Ellie stands an impressive 6’0 and was selected to the second-team all-TIC West last year. She will be joined in the middle again by returning starter Kit Byars, who has good height at 5’11.
Senior Leah Moen talks about her last go in purple.
Leah returns as the Bulldogs setter, a leadership position on the court. Moen talked about the difficulties of last season with the COVID-19 restrictions. So far this season, she sees a difference between the two years.
Erica Jordan on defense and Brooke Bergo, an outside hitter, are other seniors returning from last year. Senior Bella Jensen could make an impact this season playing either the middle or outside.
Bergo joined Greenfield on the TIC West first-team and was expected to impact other sports last winter and summer but was sidelined by a knee injury. She’s been working hard to recover to get back on the court.
Missing those sports, though, saw Bergo transition into different roles. Coach Boehmer, in his own words, says –
Boehmer mentioned that Bergo isn’t participating in every practice drill, as she will be virtual to a long run in the regional tournament. But he says she has the fire and energy always to want to be participating, learning/getting better, and competing with her teammates.
“Brooke plays with great energy and should help anchor a deep roster in the left side”. Jim Boehmer
2002 and 2003 was the last time Lake Mills has lost consecutive regular-season conference championships, and Ellie, Brooke, and Leah all mentioned how special it would be to end this season on top once again. It will be their last for Brooke and Leah, making Leah ‘super excited’, she mentioned.
Bergo says a conference championship isn’t the only goal going into this season.
Coach Boehmer mentioned junior’s Ella Stene Middle, Finley Rogstad Outside, Natalie Brandenburg DS, Karli Helgeson Setter, and sophomore’s Taylor Vanek DS, Brynn Rogness Outside, Dottie Byars Outside, and Ava Moen Middle are other players to keep an eye on.
The Bulldogs open the season on the road at West Hancock on August 26th. The game will be live on KHAM B103.1 or live on the West Hancock video stream link.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at [email protected] or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. You will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station throughout the year.