Java Junkies Athletes of the week

Senior Hali Bloomdahl of the 26-6 NCKL champions Lady Tiger volleyball team, is this week’s Java Junkies Female Athlete of the Week. While the season didn’t end with a state tournament appearance, Bloomdahl and the Lady Tigers fought to the very end at the substate tourney in Clay Center Oct. 23.

After losing most of the core team from last year’s state team, the 2021 team not only exceeded expectations, but thrived as they reached as high as fourth in polls. The Lady Tigers beat multiple state-ranked teams in three different classifications and multiple league champions, while splitting games with five state tournament teams including Smoky Valley, the bronze medalist in 3A, and 2A gold medalist Smith Center.

Regarding her team’s success, Bloomdahl said, “We started the season off really strong and that really helped build the team’s confidence. We then ran into Smith Center, who we lost to, but knew they were a good team and we hung with them so that continued to help build momentum. After defeating Smoky Valley, we knew we could compete with anyone.” 

As the fourth seed in the very tough west substate bracket, the Lady Tigers fell just short, losing 28-26 in the third set. Bloomdahl led the Lady Tigers with 17 assists in the substate final against the Lady Orioles, with four digs, and three kills. Against Ulysses in the substate semifinals, Bloomdahl led her team with seven kills to go with five blocks, eight digs, and 11 assists.

“We prepared a lot for substate. We spent a lot of time talking about the game plan against Augusta and watching film on them,” Bloomdahl said. She continued talking about the performance saying, “We didn’t play our best in the first set, but came out in the second and dominated, but in the third some balls just didn’t go the way we wanted them to.”

At one point in the third set the Lady Tigers were down 15-6. When asked on how they were able to rally back Bloomdahl said, “I think we kept our composure and when Coach (Moran) called the timeout when we were down 15-6 it helped bring that composure back. The seniors stepped up during that timeout because we knew it was our last time playing on our home court and we were able to rally back and eventually take the lead late in the match.” 

On the season, Hali had 112 kills, 21 aces, 75 blocks (second on the team), 140 digs and a team-leading 338 assists on her way to first team All-NCKL honors. Hali said on her season, “Practicing with the girls from last year really helped me improve as a player. I learned where I needed to be on the court to help set up my team for success and then with great teammates made it easier. A lot of my assists went to Jacey or Katie and only got the assist if they converted and more often than not they did so assists really isn’t an individual stat and I think that really shows what our team is all about which is teamwork.” 

Hali is also a member of the Lady Tiger basketball team, FCA, and plays the guitar. Outside of school Bloomdahl is part of the Covenant youth group. After high school Hali plans on majoring in Elementary Education while potentially going to Manhattan Christian College and KSU.