Blugolds split tourney once again

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Photo by File Photo by Elizabeth Jackson

The UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team went 2-2 this weekend as they hosted the Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament.

After splitting their games Friday by beating the St. Scholastica (Minn.) Saints 3-1 and losing to the St. Thomas (Minn.) Tommies 0-3, the Blugolds won their first game on Saturday against Gustavus-Adolphus (Minn.) 3-2 and lost a close battle with the Northwestern (Minn.) Eagles, falling 3-2.

Senior Kelly Schuh led the team in kills with 21 while also leading the way with 26 digs. Junior Alexis Wong, freshman Katrina Raskie and Keagan Kinsella also had double digit kills for the Blugolds, who have a 13-13 overall record after the weekend.

Head coach Kim Wudi said she and the team are tired of being .500.

“I’m disappointed,” she said. “I know a lot of people would be fine with two and two, but I’m really not.”

Senior Lauren Sutherland, who moved up to third in school history for digs over the weekend, agreed with her coach.

“It gives us things to work on,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in the gym on Monday.”

Eau Claire trailed 22-19 in the first match against the Eagles, but went on a 5-0 run to give them a 24-22 lead. After one more point by Northwestern, the Blugolds closed it out.

The Blugolds then came away with a 25-18 win in the second game, and the two teams started off the potential deciding game close, trading points back and forth until the game was tied, 12-12. The Blugolds began to pull away, going on a 3-0 run to bring the score to 15-13. After a few more traded scores, the crowd erupted as Schuh perfectly executed her second kill in a row, giving her 1,000 kills for her career.

“In the grand scheme of things, I’m more bummed about the loss than I am excited about my 1,000 kills,” Schuh said. “But it was fun because it is alumni weekend right now, and all those girls were counting down the kills.”

They wouldn’t be able to close that match though, as Northwestern went on a run and won 25-23.

The fourth match did not have the same hot start for the Blugolds as the previous three games. Northwestern was able to jump out to a 15-8 lead and looked primed to run away with it. The Blugolds fought back and trimmed the Eagles lead to 24-23, but their efforts would be in vain as the Blugolds dropped the match, 25-23.

“We just missed opportunities,” Wudi said. “We lost focus, I think Northwestern put more pressure on us, and we couldn’t execute.”

Although the momentum was in the Eagles favor, the Blugolds came out fighting in the deciding match. After two Schuh kills and an ace from Raskie, the Blugolds found themselves on top 11-10. Wong followed that up with a kill of her own, but key Blugold miscues were too tough to overcome as the Eagles beat the Blugolds, 15-12.

“The frustrating thing is that, like we’ve done many times already, we beat ourselves,” Wudi said. “We have to finish.”