Women’s volleyball splits at weekend tournament

The Blugolds played the University of Chicago and Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois

More stories from Stephanie Janssen


Photo by Blugolds.com

Blugold women on the court pump themselves up during a previous match against the College of St. Scholastica.

The Blugold women traveled to Decatur, Illinois, on Saturday to face off against the University of Chicago, No. 8 ranked, and Millikin University. They fell to the University of Chicago early in the day, but managed to come back and win against Millikin University.

“To go five sets with a No. 8 ranked team is amazing,” Amber Karn, a fourth-year defensive specialist, said of playing Chicago. “We probably played the best volleyball we’ve ever played so far.”

In set one against Chicago, the Blugold women came out strong in their blocks and kills earning them 20 points in this set in those categories. The Blugolds took the set 25-17.

In the second set, Chicago had an early lead. With errors early on, the Blugolds took a timeout. There was much back and forth scoring until Abby Volk, a first-year, made a kill from Madison Surprise to force the Chicago timeout.

Soon after, the Blugolds substituted in Madelyn Pashibin, a fourth-year middle hitter. She made two consecutive kills from Madison Surprise, forcing another Chicago timeout. After one last substitution from Chicago, the Blugolds went on a 5-point run with two consecutive kills made by Arianna Barrett from Madison Surprise to win the set 25-20.

Unfortunately, the next three sets were losses for the Blugolds, resulting in an overall loss against Chicago.

“They made a couple of line-up adjustments that they brought some girls in that didn’t make as many errors and so unfortunately for us, that made the match a lot closer,” Head Coach Kim Wudi said. “It’s a complete credit to them that they were able to make those adjustments and we just got outplayed I think for the better part of the match after the first two sets. So I don’t know if it was anything we did differently or did wrong, I think they played better than us so hats off to them.”

However, in second game of the tournament against Millikin University, the Blugolds rallied back.

“I think the biggest thing that we talked about was that it wasn’t a bad team that we played and that we didn’t play bad so we really had nothing to lose, that we shouldn’t hang our heads,” Karn said about the pep talk before the second game. “Kim said right after the game, one of the first things she said to us was ‘Alright, great match but go get the next one,’ and she wasn’t disappointed at all.”

In the first set of the second game, there were several attack errors from both teams. Ultimately, with two consecutive kills were made by Millikin and they took the set 25-20.

In the second set, there was much back-and-forth scoring from both teams. However, after the service error made by Blugold Taylor Scalia, the Blugolds went on a 5-point run, making three straight kills in a row.

These were made by Krista Meyer, Arianna Barrett and Madelyn Pashibin, all hitters. This forced the Millikin timeout. The back and forth scoring started up again but with the block made by Abby Volk and Madison Surprise, Blugold women ended up taking the set 27-25.

“Really focus on intentional communication, making changes right away and adapt to the teams that we were playing,” Jessica Coyne, a fourth-year, said about the Blugold playing style. “We know that every team is going to bring their best against us. It’s something we expect and hope they do.”

The last three sets went as follows: 27-25 Blugolds, 25-22 Millikin and 15-12 Blugolds. The Blugold women ultimately won the match.

The Blugold women play at home against UW-La Crosse on Wednesday for Dig for a Cure Night and then home on Saturday against UW-Stevens Point for Alumni Night.

“I think what I would like to see is just the understanding that not that we ever want to lose a set but that we can lose a set and still come back and win the match,” Wudi said. “That’s that resilience that I think we’re just continuing to build. I think that this weekend really will propel us forward in that.”

Janssen can be reached at [email protected].