EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire volleyball team earned its second consecutive WIAC co-champion title with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over UW-Platteville this afternoon at the McPhee Physical Education Center.
The title, shared with UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater, marks the third time in the last four seasons the Blugolds have been co-champions. It's also head coach Kim Wudi's third title with Eau Claire.
In today's match, the Blugolds and the Pioneers alternated set wins. Eau Claire edged out Platteville 25-23 in the first and dominated the third 25-9, despite a 9-7 start. Platteville took the second and fourth sets 25-22 and 25-18, forcing the fifth set. The deciding game was close early on, but the Blugolds went on a 6-2 run to seal the match.
Lauren Sutherland (So.-Dayton, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian) had a stand-out day, nailing 38 digs for the third-most in a single match in Blugold history.
Laura Slinger (Sr.-Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy) and Emily Neave (Jr.-Salem, Wis./Westosha Central) also led Blugold stats for the day. Slinger totaled 16 kills – the highest individual total for both teams – and Neave accumulated 47 set assists.
The victory pushes the Blugolds to 20-11 overall and 7-1 in the conference. The win also preserved Eau Claire's double-digit win streak, marking the team's 11th consecutive victory. The Blugolds last won 11 matches in a row during the 2009 season (Oct. 23-Nov. 6).
The WIAC Tournament will kick off Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Blugolds, the No. 3 seeded team, will host UW-River Falls (No. 6 seed) at 7 p.m. at the McPhee Physical Education Center.