Women’s volleyball wins two of three matches in memory of Sandy Schumacher

    Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament honors coach who fought for gender equality in athletics

    UW-Eau Claire Women’s Volleyball team and their head coach Kimberly Wudi huddled during Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament.

    Photo by SUBMITTED

    UW-Eau Claire Women’s Volleyball team and their head coach Kimberly Wudi huddled during Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament.

    UW-Eau Claire’s women’s volleyball team won two of its three games during the Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament over the weekend.

    The tournament was named after Sandy Schumacher, Eau Claire kinesiology professor and coach of volleyball, basketball and softball, following her the passing in 2013. She battled cancer throughout her life, said Kimberly Wudi, Blugold women’s head volleyball coach.

    It was during the Title IX era when Schumacher helped lay the groundwork for equality in women’s athletics at Eau Claire, Wudi said. Her efforts included starting the first women’s volleyball and basketball camp during a time when only the men’s team had one basketball camp.

    “In her day as a coach was very instrumental in growing women’s athletics,” Wudi said. “But once she retired she was one of our biggest fans.”

    Volleyball fans at Schumacher’s tournament over the weekend watched Eau Claire lose to Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) Friday 3-2 and defeat UW-Superior and Martin Luther College (Minn.), both matches with a score of 3-0 on Saturday.

    Wudi said the team served well in both games, with several aces and effective blocking.

    “That’s kind of the characteristic of our team,” Wudi said. “We’ve had different people step up at different times and play well.”

    Senior outside hitter and psychology student, Katrina Raskie, is one player who helped lead the team throughout the weekend, Wudi said. Each team had a player selected for All-Tournament recognition and Raskie was selected for Eau Claire. Another player who’s been playing well lately is senior Heather Sawchuk, Wudi said.

    As a transfer student, this was Sawchuk’s first time playing in the Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament.

    “We definitely had the same mindset going into it,” Sawchuk said. “But one thing that felt different was we were playing more for a cause and for each other rather than just playing a sport.”

    Sawchuk said she focused on playing her game as a member of a unit and not as an individua. As a competitive and loud player on the court, it’s natural for her to step into a leadership role, something she said she couldn’t do without her team.

    Eau Claire women’s volleyball’s next matchup is against UW-Stout as they play for a chance at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Conference title (WIAC), a goal coach Wudi said the team has been working twoards.
    Eau Claire is currently 3-1 in the conference and tied for first with two other teams. To win the title, Eau Claire has to beat Stout, UW-Whitewater next Friday and UW-Platteville next Saturday.