Eau Claire goes 3-1 at Elmhurst

The women’s volleyball team wrapped up its season by winning three of its four matches in the Elmhurst College Invitational II Friday and Saturday.

“I thought we played down to some of the team’s levels a little bit,” said junior Abby Freiborg, who led the defense in digs for the tournament and leads the conference in service aces.

The team emerged victorious over Marian College (Fond du Lac) in its first match, scoring 30-18, 30-11 and 30-15. Juniors Katie Fox and Kristen Moore were the top scorers, with 12 and 8 kills, respectively. Senior Heather Harnell led the defense with 10 digs.

The second match was tougher, Freiborg said. The Blugolds lost the first two games 30-27 and 30-25 and won the third game 30-22 before succumbing to Wheaton College (Ill.), losing the fourth game 30-21.

“Our passing wasn’t there,” Freiborg said. “We made errors on our side of the court.”

Coach Kim Wudi echoed some of Freiborg’s comments.

“Wheaton played a fast tempo offense,” she said. “We missed some serves and really let Wheaton dominate.They are a really good team and we played right into their hands.”

On Saturday, the ‘Golds took on Concordia University-Chicago, beating them 30-26, 30-21, 27-30, and 30-12.

Fox and senior Lissa Martinez led the team with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Fox led the ‘Golds in kills for the tournament with 47 total. She was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Harnell, Freiborg and sophomore Lindsey Smith dominated on defense with 14, 12 and 11 digs respectively. Junior Emily Haese had 52 assists throughout the match and led the ‘Golds in assists during the tournament.

In game two of their match against North Park (Ill.), the ‘Golds pulled off a hitting percentage of .810 – a rare feat, Freiborg said. They proceeded to dismantle their opponent with a resounding 30-18, 30-6, and 30-24.

“It was fun playing a game where we played to our level,” Freiborg said.

Capping off the regular season, the team, with a 21-8 record, is ranked No. 3 in the conference and No. 25 nationally.

“Every single week we’ve been improving this entire season,” Freiborg said, adding the team is ready to bring all they’ve got for tournament play.

The WIAC Conference Tournament will kick off Tuesday, when the Blugolds face off against UW-Superior at 7 p.m. at McPhee Center.

“We worked really hard to be able to host,” Wudi said. “We are the three seed but Superior has beaten some really good teams. Every match is do or die. We have to come out and play hard against them. We are not looking past anybody.”

-Cassandra Golburg contributed to this report