As UW-Eau Claire’s McPhee Physical Education Center’s main gymnasium filled with alumni and fans last weekend, the feeling was electric. The Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament was ready to begin.
The Blugold volleyball team was set to first face 20th-ranked University of St. Thomas (Minn.), a non-conference school that Eau Claire defeated for the first time in seven years, a few weeks earlier.
This time, results did not favor Eau Claire with the Blugolds losing 3-0.
Head coach Kim Wudi said the team was out of system for most of the game with St. Thomas
“As a result, we were kind of scrambling,” Wudi said. “St. Thomas is far too good of a team to be out of system against.”
Despite the loss, Eau Claire pulled together and produced a three-match stretch of impressive gameplay, including posting the highest hitting percentage (.357) of the season in the match against Concordia College-Moorhead (Minn.).
Wudi said various factors go into generating high hitting percentages.
“We have to be able to get the first contact to our setter,” Wudi said. “We had really good ball control in that match.”
Wudi said the Concordia-Moorhead match showed the team what they can do against good competition, after winning 3-0.
“From that match, we saw what we can do against a really good teams like Concordia, who had beaten us earlier in the season,” Wudi said. “We were able to put all the phases of the game together and execute well.”
Eau Claire defeated Carroll College 3-0 following the St. Thomas match and finished the tournament play defeating St. Norbert College 3-1.
The Blugolds now have an overall record of 8-9 and will begin WIAC play against UW-Superior at 7 p.m. Friday in Superior. They will return home to face UW-La Crosse at 2 p.m. on Saturday.