Women’s volleyball goes 2-1 at home

    Blugold’s defeat St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus in Sandy Shumacher tournament

    More stories from Luke Alex


    Photo by Adam Pearson

    Mackenzie Bachmann jumps up to spike down the ball as Gemma Robey of Gustavus Adolphus prepares to block the hit. Meanwhile, the Blugolds on the court gather to pick up the block.

    In the ten matches that the UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team has played this season, eight of their opponents were nationally ranked in the top 25. This gauntlet of a schedule is no accident though.

    “Our coach told us going into this season that this was the toughest non-conference schedule she has ever put together,” Makenzie Bachmann, a third-year outside hitter, said. “We know we won’t be the team we want to be if we don’t play the tough ones now.”

    The UW-Eau Claire women’s volleyball team continued their tough schedule this weekend with a 2-1 finish in the Sandy Schumacher Memorial tournament.

    On Friday afternoon, the Blugolds defeated No. 19 University of St. Thomas in straight sets.

    The team amassed 43 kills against the Tommies, with 16 of them coming from Arianna Berrett,  a second-year outside hitter.

    “We just showed out against St. Thomas,” Kendra Baierl, a third-year middle hitter, said. “We went into the match with extreme confidence and we really meshed.”

    On Saturday morning, the Blugolds took a close first set against No. 18 Carthage College, 25-20. After the first set, the Torchies dominated, winning the next three sets to close out the match.

    “We played so well against St. Thomas that we thought we could go into the match against Carthage and just take it,” Baierl said. “We didn’t expect them to play like that.”

    Later that day, UW-Eau Claire hosted Gustavus Adolphus College for the final match of the tournament. Bachmann played a role in holding off a Gustavus comeback in the first set of the match, recording seven solo kills in the set.

    “We came out with renewed energy and confidence,” Bachmann said. “We were all business.”

    The Blugolds held off the Gusties in the next two frames, winning the match in straight sets and finishing off the weekend at 2-1.

    After a 34-4 finish record and a semi-final berth in the NCAA national tournament last season, the Blugolds are going into their 11th game of the season with four losses already, but the team isn’t ready to panic yet, Baierl said.

    “There’s a lot of new people on the floor and we’ve been messing around with lineups just trying to find what works,” Baierl said. “We’ve gotten a lot better at being comfortable with who we are playing with.

    Another contributing factor to the teams troubles is an ankle injury sustained by middle hitter and captain Krista Meyer, Baierl said.

    “Krista is not only a great player for our team but a leader on the court,” Baierl said. “Luckily we have a deep roster and people that can step in for her.”

    Fortunately for the team, Meyer has been medically cleared and plans to play in the Blugolds first conference match on Wednesday against top ranked UW-Whitewater.

    The Blugolds haven’t reached their peak as a team, but the experience they have gained over the past 11 tough matches will help the squad through a strenuous season, Bachmann said.

    “We haven’t reached the level we know we can be at,” Bachmann said. “Our schedule doesn’t get any easier so we have to keep getting better every day.”

    Alex can be reached at [email protected]