WHITEWATER, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire women's volleyball team moved into second place by itself in the WIAC after defeating 25th-ranked UW-Whitewater 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23) at Kris Russell Volleyball Arena tonight, the Blugolds' first conference win over the Warhawks since 2005.
Eau Claire and Whitewater started out close in the first set but the Warhawks used a 5-0 run to get up 14-8. But the Blugolds fought their way back into the set and tied it up at 21. The Blugolds outscored the Warhawks 4-2 the rest of the way to win 25-23.
In the second set, the Warhawks never trailed while the score was tied two times early. With the score tied at six, Whitewater used a 9-0 run to get up 15-6 and never looked back. The closest Eau Claire would get after that was five points in a 25-20 win for Whitewater.
The third set appeared to be going Whitewater's way as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead. But Eau Claire began to chip away at the lead and used a 6-0 run to tie it up at 19 before closing the set with a 25-22 win.
The Blugolds brought the momentum from the third set into the fourth set and never trailed the entire way. Midway through the set, the Warhawks were able to tie the score twice, the last time at 14-14. The Blugolds used a run to get regain the lead after that and while Whitewater was within one (23-22) the Blugolds were able to hang on for the 25-23 set victory for the 3-1 win.
Eau Claire hit .216 to .161 for Whitewater and Kelly Schuh (Sr.-Appleton, Wis./Hortonville) tied for a match high with 17 kills. She also had a hitting percentage of .366 (17-for-41 with two errors) to lead the Blugolds.
Eau Claire finished with a total of seven blocks to three for Whitewater.
The Blugolds improve to 15-14 on the season and 5-2 in the conference, guaranteeing they will at least tie for second place in the WIAC. Whitewater drops to 21-10 overall and 3-3 in WIAC play. UW-Stevens Point secured sole possession of the WIAC title tonight with a 3-0 win over UW-Superior.
Tomorrow the Blugolds will wrap up conference play when they compete at UW-Oshkosh. Action is set to get underway at 2 p.m. A win would give the Blugolds the No. 2 seed in the WIAC Championship, which gets underway Nov. 5, except for the top two seeds, which get first round byes. UW-Stevens Point will host the WIAC Semifinals and Championship, Nov. 8-9.