There’s nothing flashy about Creighton middle blocker Heather Thorson.
She’s more of the steady type, CU volleyball coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said.
“She does the things that get overlooked,” Booth said. “She is just a kid who doesn’t get the acclaim I think she deserves.”
Thorson, a 6-foot-3 senior from Mead, Neb., has been critical to the Bluejays’ success this season, Booth said. Her hitting, blocking and leadership have helped Creighton roll to a 20-3 record and first place in the Missouri Valley Conference at 11-1.
She’ll be relied on again when the Bluejays travel to Bradley and Northern Iowa this weekend.
Creighton faces the Braves (8-16, 2-11) at 7 p.m. Friday in Peoria, Ill., and then tangles with the defending league champion Panthers (20-7, 11-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Cedar Falls.
There will be no overlooking Bradley, Thorson said, after four years of playing for Booth, who is always stressing that the next match is the most important.
“I definitely have heard it many times,” Thorson said. “I think it’s really important. I think teams can get wrapped up in teams that they are playing in the future. You have to make sure you’re focused on the next game and not three games from now.”
Thorson said keeping the team focused is part of her job as a captain. She and fellow seniors Megan Bober and Brooke Boggs are also quick to make sure the Bluejays stop any scoring runs by the opposition. But Thorson also likes to make sure her team is having fun, which isn’t too hard with what she affectionately calls a goofy group.
“I like to bring energy to the court,” she said. “We just have a great group of girls. It’s really fun to get a great play and we all can come to the middle and cheer.”
Thorson has been a part of many of those big moments. She has 304 career blocks and has had 90 or more in three straight seasons.
This fall, she’s averaging 1.12 blocks and 2.10 kills per set while hitting .260.
“She perhaps has the best vision of any middle I’ve coached. She can find the seams,” Booth said. “In practice yesterday, the block was completely closed and she found a hole in it. She finds holes that other people can’t find. You appreciate the vision and the shot selection that she has.”
Thorson tries to give her all every time on the court, and said what makes Creighton a great team is that everyone is fulfilling their roles.
While she doesn’t want to look ahead too much, Thorson said playing in the NCAA tournament as a sophomore was one of the highlights of her career and she’d love to get back there.
“We all know what we’re working for,” she said. “We’re working toward the big picture, and that’s been our goal. We really want to go to the NCAA and dance.”
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