UNION GROVE — The relationship between Union Grove senior standout girls basketball players Sophia Rampulla and Sydney Ludvigsen doesn’t just cover the last four years.
No, it goes much deeper than that.
The two began sharing the basketball court when they were much younger, both as competitors at the youth level, teammates on the travel ball circuit, and again on opposite sides in middle school before they joined forces with Union Grove – and now that connection will last forever.
When Rampulla hit Ludvigsen with a baseball pass that she put in for a layup last week, it gave Ludvigsen her 1,000th career point, a plateau that Rampulla reached earlier this season. Ludvigsen, who also passed 1,000 kills in volleyball in the fall, becomes the eighth Union Grove player to reach that mark.
“Obviously, it’s super special, and for me and Sophia both to get it, it just shows how special our team is this year,” Ludvigsen said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Sharing it with her good friend makes it even more special, Ludvigsen said.
“I’ve known her, basically my entire life,” she said. “We started playing together in travel ball around sixth or seventh grade, but we also played each other in middle school, too.”
With that longstanding connection as a backdrop, it only made sense the two would connect when it came time for Ludvigsen to score her 1,000th point in the Broncos’ 72-41 Southern Lakes Conference victory on Feb. 14 over Burlington.
Ludvigsen, who scored 35 points in the win, said the pass from Rampulla was the ending of a play the two have completed many times before.
“She gave me a really long pass, which is something that we’re kind of known for, the baseball passes from one end to the other,” Ludvigsen said. “She gave me a baseball pass from the other side, and I made a layup off it.”
Both girls will continue to compete at the next level, Rampulla at UW-Milwaukee and Ludvigsen at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio – but they both have some unfinished business first.
Union Grove closed out another stellar regular season with a 22-2 overall record and the Southern Lakes Conference title with a perfect 14-0 mark – a full seven games ahead of four 7-7 teams – the Broncos’ second straight unbeaten SLC record.
In Ludvigsen’s four years on the varsity team, Union Grove has compiled a 52-4 conference record, including the last 30 straight. Union Grove’s last SLC loss came on Jan. 22, 2021, in a 60-58 decision to Badger.
But now, Union Grove turns its focus to the WIAA Division 2 postseason.
The Broncos, a sectional finalist a year ago, earned a first-round bye this season and will host Fort Atkinson in a regional semifinal on Friday night.
Union Grove finished the regular season ranked fifth in Division 2 by wissports.net. One of the Broncos’ two losses came to second-ranked, and defending state champion, Pewaukee, 61-51, last week – but a rematch wouldn’t happen until the state finals, as both teams are on opposite sides of the bracket.
What could be a likely matchup before a trip to the Resch Center, Green Bay, is a battle between the Broncos and fourth-ranked Waukesha West in the sectional final.
Ludvigsen said the team and school are excited for this run, but nobody will be looking past the next opponent on the schedule.
“We’ve had a great season (with) all the accomplishments that we’ve had. We’ve also had the longest conference winning streak, and that’s really special for us, too, especially since most of the people on the team have been a part of the team for three or four years. That’s pretty cool.
“For the postseason, we’re hoping, obviously, we make it past the sectional final. But we’re going to take it one game at a time. We’re just focusing on Friday now, and then hopefully, on Saturday. Hopefully, we go far.”Sydney Ludvigsen
With the excitement of the postseason also comes with its packed gymnasiums, and all of the support means quite a lot, Ludvigsen said.
“Last year, at our games, we had a lot of people there for our postseason run, too,” she said. “It’s just really cool to see all my friends I’ve been friends with for so long just show up and support us. It’s just a really good feeling.”
Ludvigsen opened her school year with another milestone when she collected her 1,000th career kill as a member of the Union Grove girls’ volleyball team.
Even though her focus – as far as college went – shifted from volleyball to basketball this past summer, Ludvigsen said she was pleased with her decision to finish one last high school season on the volleyball court.
“I wasn’t going to give up (volleyball) just yet,” she said. “I played club volleyball for like 10 years, all throughout middle school and high school. My freshman year in volleyball, we went to state, so that was just a cool experience.
“Volleyball has definitely been good to me, but basketball is the way to go.”
Once she closes out her senior year, Ludvigsen will transition to her next stop, Walsh University, where she plans to not only continue playing basketball, but will also major in nursing.
And like many student-athletes at this stage of their lives, she can’t wait for the next chapter.
“I’m very excited, especially because the coaches there are amazing,” she said. “They have exactly the same mindset as (Union Grove coach Rob Domagalski), so I definitely think I’m going to fit in pretty easily there.
“All the girls are super nice, and the school is amazing. I’m just super excited.”
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