The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugolds defeat Eagles at women’s volleyball home match

UWEC celebrates senior night with speeches from students
Women’s volleyball team rejoices after win

On Oct. 20, the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team won 3-1 against the UW-La Crosse Eagles. The Blugolds initially lost their first set 21-25 against the Eagles. 

The Blugolds were in control of the match in the beginning until the Eagles tied things up with a six-point run and went on to win the set. Bailey Leeke gained five kills in the opening frame. 

Leeke was also mentioned by Coach Kim Wudi who said she was always consistent whenever given the ball and helped them eventually get their win. 

In the second set, the Eagles gained the lead at one point with a score of 16-14 but the Blugolds were able to turn things around. 

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In the end, the Blugolds won with a score of 25-23 thus tying the match. In the third set, Avery Pennekamp scored five total kills. 

Pennekamp was another player whom Wudi said not only helped them get closer to winning but also did a good job of taking criticism and adjusting how hard they should be hitting the ball during matches. 

In the final set, the Blugolds scored a total of 20 kills with 13 of them being made by Leeke and Pennekamp. The final set ended with a score of 25-15 with Blugold defeating the Eagles. 

“They definitely challenge us every year and so every time they come in our gym or we go to their gym I think there’s just the utmost mutual respect between each other,” fourth-year setter Charlie Nelson said. 

Charlie Nelson, a senior exercise science student, achieved her 3000th assist that night. Nelson achieved this even without playing during her first year as a UWEC student which she said was because the season was canceled due to COVID-19. 

In addition to the night being a win for the Blugolds, it was also their senior night. During their senior night, graduating seniors had speeches performed in their honor by underclassmen. 

MacKenzie Houser is one such senior and an advertising student who said she received a speech from her friend, Pennekamp. 

“She’s awesome, I love her, she’s my ride or die. We always get Starbucks runs together and everything,” Houser said. 

Houser said she was glad to get a win on senior night and that the team “played free.” For the rest of her final season, she said her goal is to make it to the conference tournament but hopes they make it to the NCAA. 

Nelson said her goal is to encourage her team more throughout the season and is going to miss them when the season is over. 

“It’s just a very very special culture and not an opportunity a lot of people get to have,” Nelson said.  

Wudi said that any athlete who has been a part of their program will always be considered family. 

“We practice a lot together but we also do a lot of life together,” Wudi said. 

Both Nelson and Houser said they don’t have plans to play volleyball after the season is over. 

Now that their match with the Eagles is over, the Blugolds will be playing their next game against UW-River Falls on Oct. 25. 

“River Falls is playing extremely competitively right now. They are a really dangerous team because they have a fairly new coach, a lot of new people playing on their team this year and so they have nothing to lose just like we do,” Wudi said.

Liz Curtin can be reached at [email protected].

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