WHITEWATER, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - After success on the first day of competition, the 16th ranked UW-Eau Claire volleyball team recorded twin 3-1 losses to No. 11 UW-Whitewater and No. 2 Juniata College (Pa.) today during the second day of the Whitewater Invitational.
The first match of the morning against Whitewater began with a shaky 25-16 loss in the first set. The Blugolds regrouped and challenged Whitewater in a second set battle that ended with a 29-27 victory. But the team couldn't keep pace with the Warhawks as Eau Claire dropped the final two sets 25-18, 25-21.
In the loss, Blair Murphy (Sr.-Hermantown, Minn.) totaled an impressive 22 digs and Rachel Ver Voort (Sr.-Madison, Wis./Middleton) also reached double digits with a total of 12. Amanda Lessner (Sr.-Watertown, Wis.) and Emily Neave (So.-Salem, Wis./Westosha Central) made 19 and 14 respective assists while Elizabeth Anderson (Jr.-Rib Lake, Wis.) contributed with 11 of the team's 42 kills.
Though they still lost 3-1, the Blugolds kept the match against Juniata College – last year's Division III runner up - much closer. The Blugolds struck first, pulling ahead of Juniata for the 25-23 win in set one. But the Eagles didn't relinquish another set to Eau Claire. The Pennsylvania team etched out a 25-19 win in the second, a narrow 32-30 victory in the third, and extinguished the Blugolds by winning 25-20 in the final set.
Three Blugolds scored double digit digs, as Murphy led the team with 18 followed by Ver Voort and Lessner with 14 and 12 digs respectively. Liz Amici (Jr.-Whitewater, Wis.) recorded a team-high nine kills while Lessner and Neave duplicated their assist counts in the day's second match, again recording 19 and 14 assists.
The losses drop the Blugolds to 14-5 on the season.
This Friday the Blugolds will host UW-Oshkosh for the WIAC's second annual Dig Pink event to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. The match – which is also on Youth Night - will begin at 7 p.m. at the McPhee Physical Education Center.