The Warhawk volleyball team has a tough weekend ahead, going up against not one, but three ranked teams.
At the first of three UW-Whitewater Invitational Tournaments of the season, the No. 8 ’Hawks (American Volleyball Coaches Association top 25 poll) will play Iowa Wesleyan College and No. 3 Emory University on Friday. On Saturday, Whitewater will go up against No. 9 Carthage College in the morning and will face No. 20 University of Chicago in the afternoon.
“Emory is going to be a huge game this weekend,” head coach Stacy Boudreau said. “It’s going to be a tough battle out on the court, but they’re ready to play a team like that.”
Last week, the ‘Hawks made a dominant entrance into conference play, squaring off against UW-Stevens Point, No. 15 UW-Eau Claire and UW-Superior. The team won 3-1 in all three matches, adding to an eight-game winning streak and improving their overall record to an impressive 11-1.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t win our conference this year,” said junior outside hitter Sofia Sanchez.
In their WIAC opener against UW-Stevens Point, the ‘Hawks came out strong and ended strong. Four ’Hawks scored in double figures in kills, while freshman Ariel Johnston made her conference debut starting middle blocker against the Pointers Sept. 15 and gave the team a strong performance.
“She’s really making a great impact on the team even as a freshman,” Sanchez said.
Against No. 15 UW-Eau Claire last Friday, the ’Hawks had to dig deep to secure the win. The team won their first set 25-22, but lost the next one 24-26. In the third set, Whitewater was all business winning the set 25-16. After being tied at 23 all in the fourth set, the next 10 points went back and forth until the ’Hawks found an opening and won the game 30-28.
“(This match) was definitely huge for us,” Boudreau said. “Eau Claire is up there as one of the top three teams in our conference and it was a very good to see our girls take control and get that win.”
For the ’Hawks most recent conference game against UW-Superior, Sanchez, who was named WIAC volleyball athlete of the week on Sept. 13, led the team to the 3-1 victory with 10 kills. The Yellowjackets couldn’t make anything happen against a strong Warhawk defense led by senior libero Alyssa Bauer. Bauer finished with 15 digs.
“Our game against Eau Claire really carried over into this one,” Bauer said.