Bonar receives All-State honors
In an assembly held Friday, Dec. 13, Saint Paul Lutheran High School once again celebrated the accomplishments of the varsity volleyball team and their fourth-place finish in the Class 2 State Tournament. But there was an extra accolade to add to the list: Junior Middle Hitter Lauryn Bonar was named to the Class 2 All-State team.
“The vote was in November,” said head coach Tom Lange, “but I wanted to wait until the whole team could be recognized and celebrate it with her. To me, making the all-state team is both an individual accomplishment for Lauryn and a team accomplishment. If the team doesn’t make it far in the state tournament, deserving players are less likely to be recognized.”
Surrounded by a supporting cast of talented players including four other teammates who were recognized with all conference or all district honors, Bonar distinguished herself as the Lady Saints’ main offensive threat.
“We had great offensive balance on our team. All six of our regular hitters had 60 or more kills this season, so our offense could come from anywhere,” said Lange. “That doesn’t happen without good passing and setting. But another reason our other hitters did so well is our opponents had to pay attention to Lauryn.”
Bonar led the Saints with 289 kills, accounting for 37% of the team’s total. Those kills came in 775 attempts against 139 errors for a .194 hitting percentage. And when given a bigger workload, Bonar did even better.
“Before our match against Santa Fe, we said, ‘She’s our most effective hitter. We need to set her more often,” explained Lange. “We also challenged our setters to ball closer to the net where Lauryn likes it, which they did.”
Averaging just over seven kills per match to that point, Bonar had 12 in a losing effort against the Class 1 state runner up Lady Chiefs for a .421 hitting percentage.
“Ideally, you want to set your middle hitter when the pass is nearly perfect,” said Lange. “But from that point on, Lauryn was getting the ball more often than a middle hitter generally does. A hitter’s percentage usually goes down when she’s forced to take more swings, but Lauryn’s went up.”
So did her production. Through the Saints first 13 matches, she averaged 7.4 kills in nearly 20 attempts. In the next 22 matches leading up to the State Final Four, that average increased to nine kills on 24 attempts.
Regular season highlights included 14 kills against Wellington-Napoleon and a season-high 18 kills at Cole Camp. In the District and Sectional championship games, Bonar had her normally solid performance with 9 kills in each match.
Though Bonar is most well-known for her hard swings at the net, she also got it done from the service line, leading the Saints in aces.
“Lauryn’s serving down the stretch was huge for us,” said Lange. “Early in the
season, she struggled with errors, but in the post season she had 12 aces to only 7 errors. I’ll take those numbers any day.”
It’s no accident Bonar’s serving improved. Coach Lange would often walk into the gym and see her hitting serve after serve before practice began. That’s normal for No. 9 on the Lady Saints, he says.
“She loves volleyball, plays with fire, and always wants to improve. She’s not going to sit back now that she’s been named to the All-State Team.
I know she’s going to keep working hard to be even better next year, because that’s what she does. That’s what a coach loves to see in any player.”