University volleyball: the court resumes its rights at UMD

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“Yes, the good old…” said Boos, stopping before saying “days”.

No, the good old days in Romano weren’t very good this time of year, when inside the building it was like a brick oven and the coaches and players were drenched in sweat, well before the establishment has a new air conditioning system. put inside.

Boos and Co. decided to release it for very different reasons on Tuesday, as masks are mandatory indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s cozy in there, way more comfortable than where I’m standing right now,” said Boos, wearing a long-sleeved shirt on a 90-degree day, drops of sweat forming on his forehead. . “We’ve had tough preseason at Romano over the years. It would have been a much different challenge if we had worn masks at that time. It’s great now comparatively.

And even better to be on the pitch again after the 2020 season has been wiped out due to the pandemic.

Outdoor forward Kate Berg kicks the ball during practice on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.  Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Outdoor forward Kate Berg kicks the ball during practice on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Scan the Bulldogs roster and you’ll only see one senior – one – and that’s 5-foot-9 outside forward Kate Berg.

“Last year was really tough, especially in training in the fall,” Berg said. “There was no end in sight.”

Berg graduated with honors last spring with a degree in marketing and graphic design and a minor in management. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Commerce.

Berg was one of three in his class to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility and return this season. She had already applied for her master’s program before COVID, and that made the decision to return this fall a slam dunk, or, in this case, a thunderous spike.

“Honestly, it worked really well,” Berg said. “I get my master’s degree and I play volleyball on top of that. “

Berg returns after leading the 2019 Bulldogs to a 25-7 record and a 16-4 mark in the NSIC game. She had 472 kills, or 4.18 per set. As well as being known as a frequent traveler, Berg is also very good defensively as she placed second with 342 digs, or 3.03 per set. She doesn’t leave court often.

Head Coach Jim Boos chats with his team during practice Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota's Duluth campus.  Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Head Coach Jim Boos chats with his team during practice Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

While the UMD was very senior in 2019, it will be the opposite this fall as young people will be served among the 14 players on the list. The Bulldogs were ranked No.2 in the NSIC pre-season poll behind rival Concordia-St. Paul.

“I certainly have the most experience on this team so I have to be a leader,” said Berg, who is captain with second-year red-shirt passer Madison Gordon and junior defensive specialist Sydney Lanoue. . “We have eight girls who have never seen a college game. There are going to be a lot of leadership responsibilities that I will have to take on.

Bring it on.

Berg, from Medina, Minnesota, who played for nearby Wayzata High School, has the type of energy, the positive personality type, that others gravitate towards.

“Obviously, she has all the tools you need in volleyball to be successful, but I think the fact that she decided to come back and wanted to dedicate herself to it says a lot about her desires and passions for. what we are. try to do it, ”Boos said. “As important as his leadership on the pitch is, it will be just as important, if not more so, off the pitch.”

Players gather during practice on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota at Duluth campus.  Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Players gather during practice on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at the Romano Gymnasium on the University of Minnesota at Duluth campus. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

If there was a silver lining to all of this COVID madness for Berg, it was that she had shoulder surgery in December and had been out all spring recovering. She called it an overuse injury, the product of countless spikes delivered by her right hand over the years.

“It got worse in the fall, and I had the opportunity to have the surgery and not miss the season, so I did,” she said. “It got to the point where it was almost unbearable.”

Now she’s back, and probably better than ever.

Berg called the moment quite a blessing.

“Oh yeah, sure,” she said. “I don’t think there are a lot of varsity athletes who were able to have surgery in the middle of their eligibility without missing a season, so it worked out really well.”

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