Volleyball splits second consecutive tournament

For the second straight weekend, the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team went 2-2 at a tournament. After splitting a quartet of games a weekend ago at the St. Benedict (Minn.) tournament, the Blugolds did the same at the Augsburg Invitational, hosted by Augsburg College (Minn.) Friday and Saturday.

The Blugolds started day one with a 3-0 loss against St. Thomas  (Minn.) Friday night. Though the first and last sets were both close (25-22), it was not enough to win the best-of-five match. St. Thomas had more kills (45), more digs (51) and more attacks (44) than the Blugolds (33, 41 and 30).

St. Thomas is ranked first in the country, according to the latest NCAA rankings.

Head coach Kim Wudi said the women played well against St. Thomas considering their ranking, however she thinks they could have gone 3-1 in the tournament.

“We need to be more consistent,” she said. “We made some errors that we shouldn’t have made.”

Volleyball is kind of a random sport, Wudi said.  “The score can fluctuate  largely depending on who is on a streak and who makes
less errors.”

“Many points are scored on errors, and in most cases, it’s the team that made the least amount of errors that wins,” Wudi said,         especially during the close games.

The Blugolds bounced back from the St. Thomas loss and beat the host school, Augsburg, 3-1 in the second game Friday. Eau Claire won the first two sets while the Auggies won the third. After winning the first set 25-20, the Auggies worked their way to a 22-22 tie in the second set. The Blugolds triumphed however with the
close 26-24 win.

Game three took place on Saturday as the women took on University of Northwestern-St. Paul (Minn.). The Blugolds won the first set by two points, the second by three points, and capped off the victory by winning the third set with a 25-21 score.

In game four, Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) came out on top, defeating Eau Claire 3-1. After losing the first two sets, the Blugolds needed to win the third to stay in contention. They did just that by winning with a score of 25-20. Set number four would be the last for the Blugolds as they lost 25-19.

Errors again were detrimental to the Blugolds against Gustavus. They recorded 33 attack errors, which was 23 more than their first match against Northwestern.

“I think we underperformed in that particular match,” Wudi said, who added that in the fourth game of a weekend tournament, teams can lose focus or simply become fatigued, though she said she feels the Blugolds are a well-conditioned team.

During the tournament, Wudi started four freshmen out of the six players on the court, which Wudi said is exciting and gives them many options.

Mackenzee Pierog was one of those freshmen and she said she is excited to be a starter at college-level play.

“There’s lots of other girls on the team so it’s definitely a challenge,” Pierog said. “You want to live up to it.”

She said she thinks the team is always improving at working together as one, given the
constant rotation.

Another freshman, Katrina Raskie, is second overall in kills with 77, total attempts 260 and points scored with 87.5.

The women have five losses this season and have the opportunity for redemption as they will face three of the five opponents later in the year.