By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
SAINT PAUL, Minn. (blugolds.com) - For the first time all year, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire volleyball team has fallen short in consecutive matches. The recent woes continued for UW-Eau Claire, albeit against another top-ranked opponent in the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.
The Eagles (ranked 24th in the nation having a record of 21-3) topped the Blugolds (ranked 22nd, record of 18-5) in four sets Tuesday night in St. Paul. In set one, UNW edged Eau Claire 25-22. The second set score of 25-15 was a more decisive victory for the Eagles, but the Blugolds avoided a sweep with a 25-23 third set win. Northwestern shut the door with another statement set four victory, winning 25-16.
Eau Claire struggled to find a balanced attack in the match, relying heavily upon Heather Sawchuk (Jr.-Roseville, MN/Cretin-Derham Hall) and Katrina Raskie (Sr.-Weston, WI/D.C. Everest) for their offense. While they accounted for 39 of the team's 49 kills in the match (19 for Sawchuk and 20 for Raskie), the team's attacking percentage of .122 was not enough to negate Northwestern's .199 efficiency.
Defensively, Kasey Schumacher (Jr.-Channahon, IL/Minooka Community) led the Blugolds in digs with 18, while Talia Jaskulske (Jr.-Maplewood, MN/North St. Paul) and Madison Surprise (So.-Appleton, WI/Kimberly) were close behind with 17 and 15 respectively. Surprise posted a team-high 24 assists in the four-set match.
The Blugolds will look to right the ship this weekend as they host their second tournament of the season. The Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament takes place this weekend from the McPhee Center, with UW-Eau Claire facing Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday at 7 p.m., Martin Luther College on Saturday at 12 p.m., and UW-Superior later that day at 4 p.m.Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.