Blumhorst blooms in second season

By Gus Bode

The 12-1 SIU volleyball team is going through a youth movement defensively.

Sophomore Lauren Blumhorst is the team’s libero, defensive specialist and is second on the team in digs with 173, seven behind team leader junior outside hitter Jennifer Berwanger.

Blumhorst had 155 digs all of last season.


‘She has advanced a ton,’ senior outside hitter Kelsie Laughlin said. ‘I see her all over the place this year. When she first came here, she was great at digging but I think she was nervous with it being her first year.’

Blumhorst saw action in 26 matches last year, but started in only six. This season, she is the starting libero for the Salukis.

Laughlin said a big part in her advancement this year has been the enthusiasm Blumhorst brings to the court and her ability to pick up the team and keep her composure. Laughlin said Blumhorst also keeps the team relaxed and is able to lighten the mood.

‘Whenever we get an ace, if you watch her she’ll slide into the middle on her knees,’ Laughlin said. ‘She is so short you can hardly see it, but she’ll just get in there screaming and it makes us laugh and helps us out.’

Blumhorst leads the Salukis in total attack on reception with 224 and in digs per set with 3.93. Both numbers are up from last year when she had 169 total attacks on reception and got 1.89 digs per set.

Blumhorst’s improved play gives her teammates confidence in her abilities.

‘I think she’s a great player,’ Berwanger said. ‘I am comfortable with her in the back row, she gets a lot of balls that I should get to that she can. She has stepped it up and is doing amazing in that libero position.’


The sophomore said her hard work is why she is why she is seeing an improvement this season.

‘I love playing volleyball. I’m just very hard on myself when it comes to anything, be it school or the game,’ Blumhorst said.

Blumhorst is not a stranger to success. She was a four-year letter winner at her high school, leading Maroa-Forsyth to a 101-8 record during her tenure.

She also led her team to two conference championships and in her senior year, placed third place in the state tournament. She led her team in digs that season and was named team captain.

Blumhorst hopes to bring that kind of success to SIU this year.

‘We will make the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. I mean if we didn’t it would be a huge disappointment,’ Blumhorst said. ‘We definitely have a chance to win it all, we just have to play great as a team.’

Derek Robbins can be reached at 536-3311, ext. 261.