LAKE MILLS – While the volleyball tradition at Lake Mills continued with a 15th consecutive conference title this season, Bulldogs coach Jim Boehmer was a little concerned that a long layoff prior to the seventh-rated (2A) Bulldogs' opening regional tournament match against St. Ansgar would cause some rust.

Boehmer need not have worried as Lake Mills scored the first seven points of the opening set and rolled to a 3-0 win over the Saints on Monday to advance to regional semifinal play.

Set scores were 25-13, 25-16 and 25-11.

Lake Mills managed to quickly assume control of the first and third sets, although St. Ansgar was able to hang around in set two until an 11-4 Lake Mills run late.

“We always feel we have to be a team,” Boehmer said. “One or two players can’t carry us.”

A solid team effort, particularly on defense, was the story of the night.

Lake Mills defenders challenged nearly every attack the Saints could muster and came up with two solo blocks and eight assisted blocks.

“Defensively, we put up good blocks,” Boehmer said. “We want to be the best defensive team we can be.”

Ashley Groe, the Bulldogs’ senior setter, effectively spread the attack attempts around as Lake Mills came up with 28 kills on the night.

Groe finished with 26 assists.

Mallory Wilhelm and Teah Kesler had nine kills apiece.

Groe’s cousin Megan, a sophomore outside hitter, emerged as a solid third option as she finished with six kills.

“I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster,” Megan Groe said. “I have been nervous most of the time.”

Lake Mills (38-3) advances to regional semifinal play on Thursday where it will face Central Springs (26-8) as the Bulldogs look to keep another tradition alive with a 10th consecutive trip to a regional final.

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