Rocky Mountain High friendship

first_imgAmy Bladow and Katie Lorenzen will not play their last match at the Field House Friday, but will also begin to go their separate ways after a strong friendship at Wisconsin.The only two Colorado natives on UW’s team — Bladow from Monument and Lorenzen from Pagosa Springs, nearly a five-hour drive apart — have created quite the bond in their four years of Badger volleyball.”We’ve gotten closer and closer over the years,” Lorenzen said. “But Colorado just has a little bit to do with it.”The two didn’t know each other in high school, and Lorenzen was on campus one year before Bladow, redshirting her first season, but the two instantly clicked when Bladow arrived to Madison in 2003.”Right when I came in my freshman year, we started peppering together,” Bladow said of the warm-up drill “pepper.” “I think that was the beginning of our friendship.””We were so terrible,” Lorenzen joked. “We would go through like 20 balls; now we’ve cut it down to about 10.”Four years later, Bladow and Lorenzen know their time is almost up.”Just to think about it, it’s like, ‘Wow, my career’s almost over,'” Bladow said. “I never thought I’d get here.”While the two, along with outside hitter Maria Carlini, will be honored Friday on Senior Night, they each took two separate paths to where they are today.After redshirting in 2002, Lorenzen has been a steady backup for the Badgers. Even though she’s only started nine matches over her career, Lorenzen has been a reliable option off the bench for Jackie Simpson, pushing Simpson to the national status she’s reached and subbing for her on off-nights.”Katie Lorenzen is in a position where she hasn’t been on the court as much as we’d like, and as much as she’s probably like, too,” UW head coach Pete Waite said. “But she’s been a great captain this year and just great as far as helping the younger players off the court more.”As for Bladow, it’s been an up-and-down ride.After starting for much of her freshman season, Bladow took a back seat her sophomore and junior campaigns. Now in her senior year, she’s starting once again and has made a big difference on the net alongside fellow middle-blocker Taylor Reineke, averaging 1.21 blocks per game.”Bladow has been an interesting player her whole career,” Waite said. “She came in and started, and then she sat for a couple years and really changed her whole work ethic and attitude coming into this year, and now she’s contributing and brings huge energy to the team.”But one thing Bladow and Lorenzen have both experienced as Badgers is success. Since 2003, the two seniors have made the NCAA tournament every year, reaching the Elite Eight the past two seasons.Along the way, Bladow and Lorenzen have experienced some big wins, such as coming back from a 25-29 deficit to beat No. 3 Hawaii in the 2004 tournament, as well as defeating top-ranked teams such as Minnesota and Penn State in front of the Field House crowd, one of the largest in the nation.However, all the success and victories won’t be what Bladow and Lorenzen remember the most.”I think more than anything that I’m going to take away from it is just the memories,” Bladow said. “Yeah, we’ve had some amazing wins, and it’s been a great four years here, but it’s all about the memories.”Experiences such as having the team stay over at her parent’s house in Monument, Colo., two years ago and watching them all try to ride horses.”I mean Maria (Carlini) on a horse? Come on, now that’s pretty funny,” Bladow said.Nevertheless, Bladow and Lorenzen say their best memory is yet to come, as they are both hoping to end this season on a high note by reaching the Final Four.”There’s no other way to end it,” Lorenzen said.last_img read more