Sunday, November 04, 2018

Scouting New Life Academy

I've read limited information so far, but I do know that one of New Life Academy's leading hitters is senior middle Lauren Schumacher. Just like the Jaguars, they have four seniors on the roster. Other top hitters are senior outside Kate Rogers and junior outside Elli Wiertsema. They also play an eighth grade hitter, outside Annika Forbes. NLA has four juniors on the roster and just one sophomore; rounding out the list are four freshmen and their lone eighth grader.

In 2017, the New Life Academy Eagles of Woodbury finished as consolation champions (fifth) in Class 1A. They had two competitive sets in the state quarterfinals with state runner-up Minneota in a 25-20, 25-10, 25-21 loss. NLA then beat Pine River-Backus 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14 in the consolation semifinals; in the fifth-place match, NLA beat Cook County 25-19, 27-25, 25-22 while finishing 20-14 overall.
Against Pine River-Backus in the consolation semifinals, Kate Rogers had 18 kills, and Elli Wiertsema had 17 kills. It was a noteable win for NLA, whose star middle hitter, senior Mackenzie Roettger, sat out most of the match with sore lower back muscles. Their junior setter last year, Bethany Breiholz, had 48 set assists and returns as one of their senior leaders this year. NLA had 100 defensive digs against PR-B's powerful attack, led by Wiertsema's 25 digs plus then-sophomore Hannah George's 23 digs.

Make no bones about it, NLA will have the state tournament experience in their favor on Thursday.

In 2016 in the Section 4AA playoffs, NLA was seeded No. 6 and earned an upset win over No. 3-seeded St. Paul Central in the quarterfinals. They lost in the semifinals 25-13, 25-10, 25-18 to No. 2-seeded Hill-Murray to finish 13-17 overall in a year where they were loaded with eight seniors.

In the 2015 Section 4AA playoffs, the Eagles advanced all the way to the championship match, in which they lost 3-2 to Hill Murray. The game five score? 16 to 14!!!!

Five of their graduates since 2015 have played at the college level, including UW-River Falls, University of Northwestern-St. Paul, UM-Duluth and UW-Stout - all very strong college volleyball programs.

The NLA Eagles volleyball program was founded in 1986 and is just a few years older than our B-B-E Jaguars volleyball program (of course, our team has its roots dating back to the mid-1970s when the Brooten Buccaneers and Belgrade Redmen volleyball teams were started). Their school was founded in 1977.

Here's a small historical summary from their school website: the Volleyball team got its start in 1986. Since that time they have won five Conference Championships (two consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015, also in 2018) and have had 39 players named All-Conference players. In 2015, Abby Thor was named All State player and Ms. Bader Player of the Year Finalist. In 2017, the NLA Varsity Volleyball team went to state for the first time, grabbing fifth place. They were conference runners-up in 2017 and took third in 2016.

Here's a story from the end of their 2016 season:

More to follow after lunch! I've gotta get on video editing too!


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