EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - Seven UW-Eau Claire student-athletes have been recognized by being named an Athlete of the Week for the first week of the 2014-15 season.
Singles: Olivia Gallagher, Sophomore, Lodi, Wis.
Opening the season in Whitewater, Gallagher went 2-1 Saturday in the No. 3 singles draw at the UW-Whitewater Warhawk Invitational. She won her first match 7-5, 6-3 and narrowly dropped her second-round match 6-4, 6-4. Gallagher then claimed third place with an 8-3 victory over Grinnell College’s Briannah Wilson.
Doubles: Colleen McCullough, Junior, Maple Gove, Minn./Osseo & Sarah Henderson, Freshman, Prior Lake, Minn.
The pair of McCullough and Henderson went 2-2 this weekend to open the season in Whitewater. Friday, the duo lost to Ashley Miller and Rachel Siemon, 9-8 (7-3) at No. 3 doubles in the Blugolds’ conference and season opener. Saturday, the pair won two straight matches at the UW-Whitewater Warhawk Invitational to advance to the championship in the No. 2 doubles draw. Again, McCullough and Henderson came up short to Miller and Siemon, 9-8 (7-0), to finish in second place.
Defense: Ashley O’Connell, Defender, 5-6, Junior, Appleton, Wis./East
With the Blugolds opening the season Friday at Hamline University (Minn.), O’Connell was part of a defense that allowed just eight shots, five of which were on-goal, giving up one goal.
Offense: Kelly Riesgraf, Middle Hitter, 5-11, Junior, Chaska, Minn.
With the Blugolds opening the season at the Saint Benedict Labor Day Tournament, Riesgraf played in 13 sets in four matches and led the Blugolds with 38 kills. She completed the weekend with a team-high hitting percentage of .366 while also leading the team in blocks with four (two solo, two assists). Against Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) on Saturday, she had 14 kills, which was the most for any Blugold on the weekend. In two of the matches she hit .400 or better, including in the Blugolds’ win over 16th-ranked Augsburg College (Minn.) to close the weekend.
Defense: Jenna Smits, Setter, 5-8, Junior, Green Bay, Wis./Preble
Competing in four matches in 13 sets this weekend as the Blugolds opened the season at the Saint Benedict Labor Day Tournament, Smits led the Blugolds each time in set assists, accumulating 117, an average of nine per set. She was second on the team with 50 digs, 23 of which came against Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) on Saturday.
Smits also had the third highest service aces total, finishing with six, along with tying for third in blocks with two assists.
Kate Engler, Senior, Beloit, Wis./F.J. Turner
Competing in the season-opening Doug Georgianni Memorial Invitational in Eau Claire, Engler led the Blugolds by tying for 11th place with 160 strokes in the 88-golfer field. As a team, the Blugolds came in eighth place out of 15 teams after two rounds of competition.