LAKE MILLS | Seniors Ashley Groe and Dana Baumann just weren’t done yet.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Groe and Baumann signed their letters of intent to continue their volleyball careers at NIACC and Wartburg College.
“I knew I wanted to play because after our regional final, we lost and I was just like, ‘I need a few more years of volleyball.’” Groe said. “It’s been such a big part of my life, so I wanted to continue playing at NIACC.”
Groe brings versatility to the NIACC roster. In her career at Lake Mills, Groe was a setter and hitter. She hopes to set or play defense for the Trojans, and pursue a degree in the nursing program.
Baumann had similar feelings, but she was unsure going into this season. Wartburg had been looking at her since her junior year.
“All up until senior year I was just like, ‘I’m going to go to Iowa State go into school and do my career and whatever,’” Baumann said. “I feel like that last game, you get the feels after it all, both junior and senior year … But I feel like I have something else to prove, I still want to be someone’s teammate, even if I go into Wartburg and I’m on JV like I still want to be a teammate to people.”
Baumann joins a Division III conference championship team where she will have to fight for playing time. It speaks to her personality, though. Baumann’s a passionate competitor who loves to practice and puts the team before her individual goals.
“Dana looked at a couple of other programs that were recruiting her pretty heavy, that didn’t have Wartburg’s success,” head coach Jim Boehmer said. “I talked to her and told her, ‘Wartburg has some awfully talented kids, it’s going to be tough making that team.’ But it wasn’t about her. She wants to go to a place where it’s fun to be a part of the team.”
Wartburg’s biology program also proved promising for Baumann, who aspires to go to veterinary school at Iowa State.
Groe and Baumann join three former Lake Mills volleyball players playing at the collegiate level, the Bulldogs will have five players playing at four different colleges in 2018. Baumann joins Lexi Groe at Wartburg. Hailey Borgmeyer and Robyn Bowman will enjoy their second seasons at Kirkwood and Dubuque.
Boehmer says that the opportunities NIACC and Wartburg provide for the two are ideal academically, and the fact they can continue to meet new people and form great memories in volleyball is just an added plus. He wanted them to leave the sport with no regrets because they won’t get any time back.
“They come to me and ask, ‘Should I go play or shouldn’t I go play?’” Boehmer said. “I said that the fact that you’re having that debate tells me that you don’t think you’re done yet. So I said, ‘Then, you have to go.’”