ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – Competing at the Saint Benedict Labor Day Tournament, the UW-Eau Claire volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 win but followed with a 3-1 loss to start the year 1-1 at Claire Lynch Hall.
Eau Claire had little trouble in the opener against Northland College, winning 25-7, 25-10 and 25-8. The Blugolds hold a 15-2 all-time record against the LumberJills, winning 12 straight matches going back to 1992.
The Blugolds finished the match with a .388 hitting percentage compared to -.246 for Northland. Katrina Raskie (Fr.-Weston, Wis./D.C. Everest) led the Blugolds with 12 of the team's 34 kills. Maggie Holcombe (Fr.-Shakopee, Minn.) recorded a match-high 16 set assists.
In the second match of the day, Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with 25-19, 25-14 victories but the Blugolds won the third set 25-19. In the fourth set, the Cobbers narrowly edged the Blugolds 25-20 to win the match.
Facing the Cobbers, the Blugolds had just 11 kills in the first two sets but recovered in the third to finish with 14. They added 13 kills in the fourth set as Kelly Schuh (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./Hortonville) led the match with 16 of the team's 38.
Jenna Smits (So.-Green Bay, Wis./Preble) had a team-high 31 set assists and Lauren Sutherland (Sr.-Dayton, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian) led two Blugolds with double-digit dig totals as she recorded 21. Eau Claire finished with 10 total blocks to just five for Concordia.
Saturday, the Blugolds will play two more times against Bethel University (Minn.) at 9 a.m. and against host and 19th-ranked Saint Benedict (Minn.) at 1 p.m.