By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - As the calendar advanced to October, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire volleyball team turned back the clock to honor past players on Alumni Day, and they did so by picking up two wins on Homecoming Saturday.
The No. 24-ranked Blugolds defeated the College of St. Scholastica Saints in the first match-up of the day's triangular. The Saints entered the match with a 5-10 record, but they certainly put the pressure on the nationally-ranked UW-Eau Claire squad.
Eau Claire trailed 2-0 to open the first set, but a follow-up four-point run was all they needed to get momentum on their side; they wouldn't fall behind the rest of the set on way to winning 25-20. Amber Karn (So.-Middleton, WI) delivered some clutch serves during a 4-0 run to close out the set.
St. Scholastica responded with a 25-22 second set victory behind strong defensive play from their back row. However, the Blugolds answered back in the third set. Using a pair of 5-1 runs to counter one from the Saints earlier in the set, Eau Claire notched a 25-19 win.
To cap off the victory over the Saints, a 6-0 run midway through the fourth set was key to the 25-17 score and sixteenth win on the season for the Blugolds.
The team looked their best book-ending the match, hitting .417 in set one and .371 in the fourth. They also accumulated ten service aces, seven blocks, 56 kills, and 63 digs in the contest. Leaders included Keagan Kinsella (Sr.-Chanhassen, MN) with 14 kills, Talia Jaskulske (Jr.-Maplewood, MN/North St. Paul) with four aces and 14 digs, and Madison Surprise (So.-Appleton, WI/Kimberly) with 27 assists.
The Blugolds then took on the Carroll University Pioneers, led by UW-Eau Claire alum Becca Saal, in the nightcap. The blue and gold only needed three sets this time to remain unbeaten at home.
In the first set, the Pioneers led 7-5 early, forcing a Blugold timeout. Coming out of the break, Eau Claire put together nine straight points. From there, they coasted to a 25-16 win.
Set two saw Katrina Raskie (Sr.-Weston, WI/D.C. Everest) lead a balanced attack with four kills en route to another 25-16 victory.
Eau Claire wrapped up the sweep, winning 25-20 in set three and improving their record on the season to 17-3.
Raskie had a team-best 13 kills in the match, while Emma Richter (Fr.-Mahtomedi, MN) led with 33 set assists.
The Blugolds return to action Wednesday night, when they play host to UW-Stevens Point on Dig For a Cure & Team Night!
Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.