EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire volleyball team opened the 2011 WIAC Tournament with a 3-1 win over UW-River Falls in the first round at the McPhee Physical Education Center tonight.
The win was the Blugolds' 12th straight, which ties for the sixth longest winning streak in school history. The Blugolds also won 12 in a row in 1989 and the last time they won 12 or consecutive matches was in 1993 (13 straight, Sept. 4-Sept. 22). Eau Claire has also won seven straight first round WIAC Tournament matches going back to 2005.
In tonight's match, the opening few minutes in each set were closely contested.
In the first set, the Blugolds had a narrow 11-9 advantage at one point but gave up just seven more points the record of the way to take the 25-16 victory. The Blugolds used two 4-0 runs to help win the opening set.
In the second set, River Falls actually held a 14-9 lead at one point but the Blugolds used another 4-0 run to get to within one. The teams then went back and forth and the Falcons found themselves up 19-17 but the Blugolds followed with a 5-0 run and eventually took the set 25-22.
Things were again closely contested in the third set and River Falls found narrow leads of 16-15 and 21-20 at two points in the set before ultimately winning 25-23.
The Blugolds controlled the fourth set a little better, building a 22-13 lead. But the Falcons didn't go away and scored six points in the closing minutes. The Blugolds were able to hold on for the 25-19 victory.
Liz Amici (Sr.-Whitewater, Wis.) led the match with 16 kills while Anne Satterlee (Jr.-Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon) added 11 with a match-high hitting percentage of .524. Laura Slinger (Sr.-Faribault, Minn./Bethlehem Academy) came away with 10 kills.
Eau Claire now holds a 21-11 overall record while River Falls finishes its season at 16-18.
Next up, the Blugolds will head to Stevens Point for the final matches of the WIAC Tournament. They will face UW-Whitewater 5 p.m. Friday in a semifinal match and will play again Saturday in either the championship or third-place match.