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New Life Academy sophomore Kara Stenerson returns to help lead the Eagles this fall. (Bulletin file photo)
New Life Academy sophomore Kara Stenerson returns to help lead the Eagles this fall. (Bulletin file photo)

2013 Fall Sports Preview: New Life volleyball team has something special brewing

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sports Cottage Grove, 55016

Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

With no seniors, New Life Academy is fielding the youngest volleyball team in the state, according to fourth year head coach Wally Bomgren.

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But, that doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t be really good — the Eagles are ranked 15th in the state in Class A to start the season.

Though it was very young last year, New Life finished 18-10 overall and 7-1 in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference.

This fall, the Eagles return all of their key players from last year’s squad, minus 2013 graduate Mattie Steele.

“Many of our players have attended New Life their whole life, and our varsity has been playing together now for three years straight,” Bomgren said. “They know each other very well and they play like it. It will be exciting to watch them continue to grow, develop, and enjoy the game together.”

Back to help lead the way for New Life Academy this fall are first-team all-conference players Kara Stenerson and Abby Thor. Stenerson, a setter, and Thor, a middle hitter, are both sophomores. Also returning to the club is second-team all-conference hitter Abby Gorter, who is also a sophomore, along with sophomore hitter Sydney Mortenson and junior libero Maddie Stocker. Stenerson, Gorter and Thor are the Eagles’ captains this year. The team also is welcoming a promising pair of freshman Hannah Nelson and Mackenzie Porupsky to the mix this season.

Last year, New Life’s lone conference loss came to Southwest Christian, who again is the team to beat in the MCAA — and in section play. Other tough foes in both the conference and the section are expected to be Mayer Lutheran and Heritage Christian Academy.

New Life lost its first match of the year, 3-2, to big-school Chisago Lakes, last Friday. Next, the Eagles are at St. Croix Lutheran on Thursday, Aug. 29. Eagles fans should be sure to circle Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 on their calendars. New Life takes on Southwest Christian on the 15th and Mayer Lutheran on the 22nd.

—Patrick Johnson

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