Volleyball gets third at WIAC tournament

The season may be over for the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team, but their third-place finish this past weekend at the WIAC Championship along with their spirit to keep winning and doing better is what fuels them for their next season.

On Friday, the team lost to their rival UW-Whitewater but came back Saturday to win against UW-La Crosse 3-0.

Helping direct the Blugolds to a win was senior Kelly Schuh with 13 kills and senior Lauren Sutherland led the match with 18 digs.

Head volleyball coach Kim Wudi said the loss to Whitewater affected the team.

“I think we had Whitewater down in the third set and we just needed to play with more composure,” Wudi said. “I think Whitewater came out and attacked us in the last several points of that game.”

Freshman Katrina Raskie with an overall season contribution of 316 points and a hitting average of .139 said going into this tournament meant hard work and determination to win.

“It seemed like toward the end of the season, we were playing our best volleyball, so it was exciting going into this tournament with a lot of wins in the end, we were playing together really well,” Raskie said.

The highlight of this past weekend’s tournament, Raskie said, was beating La Crosse. Raskie said for her personally, it was a great season to be on a team with girls who wanted to excel and who care about each other.

Raskie said fellow players Schuh and Sutherland were stand out players this past weekend and season. She said the team could not have done it without them on and off the court.

Schuh said the team went into this past weekend’s tournament with a winning attitude to continue on with their season. The third place overall standing was not what the team wanted, Schuh said, but that wasn’t for a lack of trying and game-ready attitude.

“We could have been more consistent with the match on Friday, and I think that’s what got us,” Schuh said. “But on Saturday we came out strong and I think that was the key to winning that one”

One of the best moments of the weekend was competing against La Crosse, Schuh said.

“I remember one time we were playing La Crosse, and they have a really big outside hitter and we were not doing well at blocking her,” Schuh said. “Then it was halfway through the game … during this one rally, we blocked her three times. That fired us up; that was awesome,”

For Schuh personally, she said her biggest moment was getting the 1,000th career kill earlier in the season.

“It was at home and a lot of the alumni were home and they were counting to one thousand and when I got it, the gym just went crazy,” she said. “It was a cool moment for me.”

As for next season, Schuh said the team is anticipating an even greater urgency to win and knowing that every match matters.

Wudi said the team next year is going to be fresh-faced and young.

“Our seniors are going to be greatly missed,” Wudi said. “They played a huge role in our success this season, we have a good future ahead of us, but those are big shoes to fill.”