Volleyball team fights for game improvement

Story by Martha Landry


A 4-6 pre-season record is not what the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team had in mind .


This past weekend the Blugolds were only successful once in the tournament at Augsburg College (Minn.).


After losing three consecutive sets, they finally pulled off a win in their final game against UW-Stevens Point, finishing the tournament in
seventh place.


“We can play better then what we did,” Coach Kim Wudi said. “They were quality opponents and I don’t think it was a case where we lost to a team that we necessarily shouldn’t have lost to … I think that we could have put up a better fight to all the teams that we lost to.”


Eau Claire started out the tournament with a 3-0 loss against Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.).  The Blugolds kept close in the third set, but ultimately couldn’t pull off
a comeback.


The Blugolds fought hard in their next game, against St. Scholastica (Minn.), who the Blugolds had defeated earlier in the week, bringing the match into the fifth set but it ultimately resulted in
another loss.


“We always want to focus on what we are doing right now and the game we are at,”  junior Emily Neave said. Neave led Eau Claire in assists against Gustavus and St. Scholastica.


On day two of the tournament, the Blugolds fell to College of St. Benedict (Minn.), 3-2, losing again in the fifth set.  In their final match, against UW-Stevens Point, Eau Claire won 3-1 for seventh place.


Although Wudi was disappointed by the out of character mistakes made during the tournament, senior Liz Amici said the record might not have shown it, ” but we definitely have seen improvements,” comparing last weekend’s tournament
to Augsburg.


According to Amici, with each game the team has been working together better and improving on team dynamics.


With nine rookies on the team, the Blugolds have been working on getting everyone up to speed on offensive plays and learning how each person plays.


In practices, Amici said, they work hard on creating a mutual trust among all the teammates.  A strength of the Blugolds is flexibility within positions, which allows them to mix up their lineup.


“We are playing a lot of people in different roles this year,” said Wudi.  “I think the biggest thing is people being confident and comfortable with each other on the court.”


With a full week of practice before the next tournament, the Blugolds hope to fix and learn from the mistakes they’ve
been making.


Ball control and communication are areas where Wudi hopes to improve on.


The Oshkosh Invitational, the last pre-season tournament for the Blugolds, starts
this Friday.


Eau Claire are hoping to come out of the tournament confident to set them on the right track for their upcoming conference games.


“This week we are focusing more on fundamentals,” said Amici.  “We are focusing on how we play rather than the opponents we are going to face.”