Women’s volleyball builds confidence on the California coast

Blugolds faced nationally ranked teams at Pacific Coast Classic Tournament

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Women’s volleyball builds confidence on the California coast

The Blugold women’s volleyball team strengthened team chemistry over the weekend.

The Blugold women’s volleyball team strengthened team chemistry over the weekend.

The Blugold women’s volleyball team strengthened team chemistry over the weekend.

The Blugold women’s volleyball team strengthened team chemistry over the weekend.

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The UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team traveled home from California on Sunday with their kneepads, jerseys and a good dose of confidence packed neatly in their luggage.

This past Friday and Saturday, the team competed in the Pacific Coast Classic Tournament where they won one match and lost three against nationally ranked teams Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Claremont McKenna College (California), and the University of Texas-Dallas.

“I think we really learned about ourselves as a team,” said junior player Jessica Coyne. “We played really tough teams, and I saw a lot of great things. But we definitely know what we need to work on.”

The Blugolds easily conquered their first opponent, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), on Friday at the University of La Verne, winning in three with scores of 25-10, 25-13, and 25-18 to end play swiftly.

The team rallied together in more ways than one: They began their play against MCLA with a 5-0 lead and continued the trend throughout the match. Together, the Blugolds made 48 kills, 44 aces and 39 digs in their first match.

Next, the Blugolds lost a hard-fought, four-game match to tournament host No. 20 University of La Verne. Although the team won game one 25-12, La Verne pushed back and took the next three games 27-25, 25-23 and 15-12.

Collectively, the Blugolds finished match two with 59 kills. Mady Pashibin contributed 18 of those kills while Coyne added 15. Junior setter Madison Surprise finished the second match with 42 assists.

On Saturday at Claremont McKenna College, the Blugolds faced tough opponents: No. 7 Claremont McKenna College (CMC) and No. 8 University of Texas-Dallas.

First, Eau Claire took on CMC. With strong serving and defense, CMC took the match in three with scores of 22-25, 11-25 and 21-25. Pashibin lead the way for the Blugolds with 12 kills.

Lastly, the Blugolds faced their final opponent UT-Dallas. Although UT-Dallas eventually won the match, Eau Claire battled hard and took the No. 8-ranked team to four close games. The Blugolds took the first game 25-21, but then were edged out by UT-Dallas in the next three games 21-25, 35-37 and 16-25.

Coyne was again vital to the team, adding 14 total kills in the matches against UT-Dallas. On the defensive side of play, senior defensive specialist Talia Jaskulske had 26 digs. Surprise added 15 digs and 46 assists.

Head Coach Kimberly Wudi said one of the team’s strengths is their chemistry on and off the court.

“We can accomplish more together than we can as individuals,” Wudi said. “Even though we didn’t get the win, we are coming out of the weekend with a ton of confidence feeling like we can compete with the best teams in the country.”

Friday, the Blugolds will pack their bags again and head to Minneapolis for the Augsburg Invitational at Augsburg College.

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