Blugold Volleyball wins last scheduled home game

Eau Claire escaped a late rally from the Blue Devils to win the match 3-1

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Photo by Sam Martinez

The UW-Eau Claire volleyball team beat UW-Stout 3-1 Wednesday night in Zorn Arena on breast cancer awareness night.

The win put the Blugolds in fourth place in the WIAC with a 3-2 conference record and a 21-7 record overall. It was the last scheduled home game of the season.

In the fourth and final set, the Blugolds were up 24-13, with only one point needed to end the match. However, the Blue Devils put some heat on the Blugolds by scoring 10 consecutive points before losing 25-23 on a ball handling foul.

“Everybody in the gym saw it, we’ve got to close the match,” head coach Kim Wudi said. “We didn’t earn that last point.”

Junior Keagan Kinsella led the team with 11 kills, sophomore Talia Jaskulske had 17 digs and senior Jenna Smits recorded 33 assists in the match.

In front of a large fan base for breast cancer awareness night, the team wore pink gear including warm up shirts, shoelaces and wristbands on the court.

University sports teams and clubs designed bras that were modeled between the first and second sets. Fans voted on their favorite by making a small donation to the bra of their choice.

Anticipating a large crowd, the match was held in Zorn to accommodate the Blugold and Blue Devil fans.

Sophomore libero Talia Jaskulske said the large crowd that showed up was exciting to play in front of.

“The crowd was amazing,” Jaskulske said. “(Games in Zorn) are the best, the environment is just awesome.”

Last weekend, Eau Claire went undefeated at home as the host team for the Nike/Eastbay Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament.

The team only dropped two sets in four matches, with wins over Concordia College (Minn.), University of Minnesota Morris, College of Saint Benedict (Minn.) and Northwestern University-St. Paul (Minn.)

The Blugolds lost to Northwestern University-St. Paul earlier this season at the Augsburg tournament (Minn.) On Saturday, however, the Blugolds got their revenge and beat the Eagles in straight sets to snap their 14-game winning streak.

Kinsella said it was great to beat a team like the Eagles and she believes the team has matured since they last faced them.

“We’re like a different team,” Kinsella said. “I think we showed (the Eagles) something new.”

The weekend tournament is named after Sandy Schumacher, the first Softball and Volleyball coach at UW-Eau Claire.

“Sandy was a good friend, and just meant a lot obviously to Eau Claire and was a pioneer in women’s athletics,” Wudi said. “To win a tournament in her honor is really special.”

This Friday, the Blugolds will travel to play Carroll University and Luther University (Iowa) on in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the Coe tournament.

On Saturday they will face Buena Vista college (Iowa) and Coe College (Iowa) to conclude the tournament.