EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - Defending Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference co-champion UW-Eau Claire has nine returning players on the 18-player roster announced today by fifth-year coach Kim Wudi.
The Blugolds, who are ranked No. 20 in the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) preseason poll, are scheduled to open the 2011 campaign with their annual Labor Day Classic, September 2-3. The field in the five-team round robin tournament includes No. 11 Carthage College and No. 14 Concordia-Moorhead along with the College of St. Benedict and Lawrence University. The tournament begins at 3 p.m., September 2 with a match between UWEC and Lawrence.
The Blugolds lost six players from a team that finished with a 25-10 season record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2010. The Blugolds were 7-1 in the WIAC, sharing the regular season title with UW-Oshkosh, and lost to UW-Platteville in the conference tournament championship match.
Heading the list of returning players is Liz Amici (Sr.-Whitewater, Wis.), a 6-1 senior middle hitter who was an All-Conference first team pick last year. She led the team in blocks with 151 and had a .262 hitting percentage with 2.4 kills per set.
Returning for her senior season after suffering a season-ending injury on the first weekend of last season is 5-9 outside hitter Emily Zupon (Sr.-Antigo, Wis.) who was All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2009 when she averaged 2.62 kills per set and had 64 blocks and 135 digs.
There are a total of four seniors on the squad along with three juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen, six of whom are true freshmen.
Among the key losses from last year are hitters Rachel Ver Voort, an All-Conference first team pick, Dani Lucia and Elizabeth Anderson along with setter Amanda Lessner, an Honorable Mention designee, libero Blair Murphy, an All-WIAC Defensive Team selection, and defensive specialist Jackie Tucker.
Emily Neave (Jr.-Salem, Wis./Westosha Central) has some significant playing time at setter over the past two seasons while Amy Bomgren (Jr.-Woodbury, Minn.), Laura Slinger (Sr.-Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy) and Anne Satterlee (Jr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) saw significant action as hitters last season.
The other returnees who saw spot action include senior defensive specialist Jenny Burzynski (Sr.-Stanley, Wis./Stanley-Boyd), sophomore hitter Kelly Schuh (Appleton, Wis./Hortonville) and sophomore hitter Lauren Sutherland (Dayton, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian).
Sophomore Becki Brunnquell (Port Washington, Wis./Grafton) and freshman Amy McDonald (Hayward, Wis.) were in school but not on the squad last season. Sophomore Jordyn Anderson (Rib Lake, Wis.) is a transfer from Park University in Missouri.
The true freshmen include Cheyanne Davis (Stevens Point, Wis./Pacelli), Carly Kempton (Pewaukee, Wis.), Kali Priest (Eau Claire, Wis./North), Jenna Smits (Green Bay, Wis./Preble), Megan Tracy (New Hope, Minn./Robbinsdale Cooper) and Alexis Wong (Maple Grove, Minn.).
Wudi owns a 102-41 overall record (.713 winning percentage) in her four previous seasons as head coach. Her teams have produced a 25-7 conference record (.781 winning percentage) and twice has tied for a conference regular season championship. Wudi has twice been selected the WIAC Coach of the Year and has taken all four of her teams into the NCAA post-season tournament.