Blugold women’s volleyball finished 1:2 in the Nike/Eastbay Fall Classic

    Eau Claire fell short to Gustavus Adolphus College and University of Chicago but defeated Concordia Moorhead over the weekend

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    Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

    UW-Eau Claire’s volleyball team played in the Nike/Eastbay Fall Classic at the McPhee center on Friday and Saturday.

    The 2017 Nike/Eastbay Fall Classic began on Friday night at the McPhee center where the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team faced a difficult task in their opening game.

    The Blugolds played Gustavus Adolphus College (Minnesota) where they were defeated in three straight matches by scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-21.

    The Gusties out-hit Eau Claire, finishing with a team attack of .261 to the Blugolds’ .176.

    Team leaders for Eau Claire included Madelyn Pashibin, a junior middle hitter, with ten kills; Madison Surprise, a junior setter, with 32 assists and Talia Jaskulske, a senior defensive specialist, with 15 digs. Pashibin’s kills came on 21 attacks, finishing with a .381 clip.

    Pashibin said their match against Gustavus was a tough one and the team was disappointed they did not come out with a win. She said they fought and played hard and came close to winning in every set, but were unable to achieve a victory.

    “Our team plays best during the middle of sets, so we have had a tough time being able to get a lead in the beginning and finishing at the end,” Pashibin said. “Gustavus got early leads, so we felt as though we were always working just to catch up with them. Our team is working on improving starting games strong and getting the lead early.”

    On day two of competition, the Blugolds played two matches, winning to Concordia-Moorhead (Minnesota) and losing to University of Chicago.

    In the morning session, Eau Claire defeated Concordia-Moorhead in three sets with scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 25-21.

    Pashibin led the Blugolds’ attack, hitting .464 with 14 kills on 28 attempts. Jessica Coyne, a junior outside hitter, tallied ten kills, while Makenzie Bachmann, a first-year outside hitter, and Emily Miller, a senior outside hitter, followed up with 7 and 6 respectively.

    Feeding the hitters was Surprise, who finished with 36 assists. Defensively, three Blugolds accounted for double-digit digs. Amber Karn, a junior defensive specialist, and Jaskulske had 13, while Kelsey Kowitz, a junior defensive specialist had 11 in the win over the Cobbers.

    “The game went well, we served very aggressively and we were able to keep them out of system which ended up in favor for us,” Karn said. “We were able to run a fast offense on our side of the net and when we do that we are unstoppable.”

    The Blugolds completed the weekend with a close loss to the University of Chicago. Despite being swept in the match, all three sets were tight; Eau Claire fell short 25-22, 25-23 and 25-21.

    Eau Claire limited their errors for the most part, putting together a .246 hitting percentage in the match.

    Pashibin improved her numbers from the morning’s match, this time going for 15 kills on 27 attempts. Bachmann connected for 12 put-aways on 34 attempts. As in the first match, Surprise tallied 36 assists again, while Jaskulske’s 18 digs led the Blugolds.

    “A positive thing that came from the game is that I think we came together as a team and remained composed and if we can execute even just one more percent in all aspects of the game, we will be on top,” Jaskulske said.

    Following a difficult non-conference stretch to open the season, Eau Claire will now turn their attention to Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play. On Wednesday, they host UW-River Falls in the first of three straight WIAC contests. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the McPhee Center.