Women’s volleyball team competes in weekend tournament

    The Blugolds reach new goals in the 2017 Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament before returning to conference play

    More stories from Jessie Meyen


    Photo by Sam Farley

    The women’s volleyball team competed in the 2017 Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament this weekend and finished with two victories and one loss.

    The UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team commenced the 2017 Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament with a big win on Friday against Martin Luther College (Minnesota).

    Coach Kimberly Wudi said she was able to showcase several combinations by having 14 players involved in the matches.

    “I’m always looking for opportunities to get other players in the match besides just our starting lineup, and that opportunity presented itself against Martin Luther,” Wudi said.

    The Blugolds were victorious in all three sets. The team had to play catch-up in the first two sets with 25-17 and 25-23 as the ending scores, but took charge in the third set and won 25-14.

    Madison Surprise, a junior setter, contributed to the success of the matches with 40 assists.

    Surprise and six different hitters worked together to secure the win. Jessica Coyne, an outside hitter, and Madelyn Pashibin, a middle hitter, both juniors, aided their team in a record 14-kill match.

    Offense wasn’t the only thing responsible for the team’s victory. Talia Jaskulske, a junior defensive specialist, earned 16 digs for the match, and Makenzie Bachmann, a first-year outside hitter, earned 10 digs against the Knights hitters.

    Surprise said the team looked to continue their victory streak on Saturday.

    “We have been playing pretty consistently these past few games, but we knew we had to be more prepared for the tougher teams on Saturday,” Surprise said.

    Unfortunately, the second day of the tournament didn’t provide a promising start. The Blugolds went up against the No. 15 ranked team, Millikin University (Illinois), to the fifth set. As tough as they fought, they couldn’t catch up in the last set and lost 15-11.

    Though the score didn’t prove victorious, the hitter’s stats remained impressive. Pashibin had 19 kills, Coyne had 15 kills and Krista Meyers, a first-year middle hitter, had 12 kills.

    The setters’ statistics also proved noteworthy. Surprise finished with 43 assists, Jaskulske had 19 and Amber Karn, a junior defensive specialist, had 11.

    “Our passing was lights-out during this tournament, especially on Friday, so that made my job a lot easier,” Surprise said. “Being in a good system always helps me as a setter.”

    The third and final match of the tournament against Augsburg University (Minnesota) put Eau Claire back on top. They defeated the Auggies in a straight set, 27-25, 25-17 and 25-22.

    Conye confirmed her role as an upper classman hitter with 16 kills. Pashibin had 11 kills of her own. Surprise ended the tournament with 39 assists. Jaskulske finished with 14 digs and Karn followed with ten digs.

    Coach Wudi said each match is about improving and preparing for the future.

    “This coming week is a big one for us,” Wudi said. “Our goal is to take one match at a time and get better week in and week out to be playing our best volleyball by the end of October when we need to make a run in the playoffs.”

    The Blugolds will return to conference play in a game against UW-La Crosse at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11.