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Filed under Sports

Volleyball struggles during weekend

The UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball had an inconsistent weekend, dropping two of their three matches at home.

The Blugolds started out strong on Friday with a convincing 3-1 win over conference opponent UW-Oshkosh. However, they fell flat in their match against St. Thomas (Minn.), and after a slow start in their final contest against Viterbo University, they couldn’t recover.

Head Coach Kim Wudi was pleased with how her team performed in the opening match, but thought they took things for granted the rest of the weekend.

“We need to understand that just because we play one great match it doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easy every time that we step out onto the court, we’ve still got to earn it every time we step out there,” Wudi said. “I am disappointed that we saw two different teams in two days.”

On Friday the team came out very strong against Oshkosh. After dropping an extended opening game 35-33, the team dominated the next three.

Senior Amanda Lessner led the way for the Blugolds with 56 assists and junior Liz Amici contributed with 18 kills.

Senior Rachel Ver Voort thought the team maximized their potential in the match.

“We came out against Oshkosh and played very well,” Ver Voort said. “I think that’s the best we’ve played all season.”

The early match on Saturday against St. Thomas was a different story. Eau Claire dropped all three matches and was outscored but a total of 75-50.

Wudi thought the team just wasn’t as concentrated as they needed to be.

“The biggest thing was that we didn’t have the intensity,” Wudi said. “We didn’t play with the same focus that we did (against Oshkosh) and just weren’t as aggressive.”

The Blugolds started out slow in their final match against Viterbo and trailed 2-1 after three games. The team battled back, however, pulling out a close fourth game 25-20.

In the decisive fifth game the team jumped out to a small lead and battled back and forth with Viterbo. It wasn’t enough though, and they eventually fell 15-13.

Ver Voort said after such a close contest it was hard to be upset with how things turned out.

“I think we played hard in this last match against Viterbo, but it wasn’t enough,” Ver Voort said. “Ultimately I feel like we needed to find a way to put the ball away and we couldn’t do it.”

Even with the loss, Wudi thought the effort her team put forth showed something important.

“I think it says that we have a lot of heart and we have a lot of pride,” Wudi said. “We didn’t want to go out and lose again in three or four. We wanted to make sure we kept fighting.”

After the pair of loses on Saturday and the conference win on Friday, the team is now 15-7 overall and 6-1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Blugolds are now in a three-way tie for first in the WIAC with UW-Whitewater and Oshkosh. With just one match to play against UW-River Falls, Ver Voort is excited about the possibilities.

“We have to play hard and beat them, we can’t overlook them because they are a good team,” Ver Voort said. “If we go out there and win, that puts us in first place for conference, that’s something we all want.”

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