Volleyball turns up the heat

Story by Martha Landry

UW-Eau Claire came back punching in their second match against UW-Oshkosh in Oshkosh on Saturday.

Junior Anne Satterlee racked up 11 kills and said the team came back this time with confidence and ready to play.

“I never got any indication from any teammates that they thought we weren’t going to lose at all,” she said.  “It was almost like a swagger.  We knew we were going to win.”

The Blugolds picked up the first two games of the match easily, winning 25-16 and 25-18.

Coach Kim Wudi said a reason for Eau Claire’s confidence was the work in practice all week — focusing on preventing errors and what they could do on their side of the court.  This season, a big weakness of the team has been scoring points for the opponents and making unnecessary errors.

“We tried to focus on our side of the court and what we could control on our side,” Wudi said.  “We have been beating ourselves in a lot of the matches that we’ve lost, to the point that statistically we were average, that we were scoring four points a game with out unforced errors.  That’s a lot.  If Oshkosh wanted points, they were going to have to earn them.”

Wudi said Eau Claire and Oshkosh were very evenly matched teams and the wins in games one and two were accomplished because they were successful in reducing their mistakes.

In the third game of the match, Oshkosh rallied and took the lead, reaching 21-18 late in the game, but the Blugolds weren’t ready to give up a game.  They came back for a win of 27-25.

Oshkosh has talented hitters, Wudi said, and by isolating that strength and working to defeat it in practice, they were able to liken their defensive chances
as well.

Senior Liz Amici said that in addition to being better prepared, there was more on the line this time around playing Oshkosh.  Being a conference game, not a tournament, the Blugolds had more to lose.

With regular season games getting down to the line, conference is becoming a priority, Amici said.

Satterlee said it’s their goal to go the rest of the season without losing.