Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Volleyball: ‘Hawks ready for NCAAs, rematch against Bears


By Ryan Altman

After winning its first two matches of the WIAC tournament, the UW-Whitewater Warhawks women’s volleyball team fell short of capturing its 15th conference championship last weekend at UW-Eau Claire.

WIAC Tourney Recap

The ’Hawks entered the WIAC tournament with an overall record of 27-11 and a conference record of 5-3.

As a result, the ’Hawks received the No. 3 seed behind No. 2 seed UW-Eau Claire and No. 1 seed UW-Stevens Point.

On Nov. 5, the ’Hawks hosted No. 6 seed UW-Platteville in the quarterfinals.

It took the ’Hawks five sets to defeat the Pioneers, taking the match, 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-10).

Freshman outside hitter Lauren Pfeifer led the team with 15 kills, followed by freshman outside hitter Staci Hasler (13 kills) and junior middle blocker Kristen Ruchti (11 kills). Junior libero Kelsey Nobilio added a season-high 32 digs.

Kelsey Nobilio

This marked Nobilio’s 40th career match with at least 20 digs, tying her with former ’Hawks player Alyssa Bauer for the school record.

“It feels good,” Nobilio said. “I’m happy about [tying the record], but I couldn’t do it without the team.”

In Friday’s semifinal match against UW-Eau Claire, the ’Hawks defeated the Blugolds, 3-1 (25-23, 17-25, 29-27, 25-14), advancing to the WIAC championship round at UW-Stevens Point.

Ruchti (13 kills) and three other ’Hawks, including sophomore Brittney Langley (12 kills), Pfeifer (11 kills) and Hasler (11 kills) recorded double-digit kill totals.

Junior Kim Frei recorded 11 digs and 44 assists, while sophomore Jaclyn Krizka also had 11 digs.

On Saturday, the ’Hawks faced the No. 1-seeded UW-Stevens Point Pointers in the WIAC final. Despite four closely contested games, the ’Hawks fell 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-25) to the Pointers.

Once again, Ruchti led the ’Hawks with 14 kills. Pfeifer contributed 12 kills, while Hasler finished with 11. Pfeifer also added 12 digs and Frei led the ’Hawks with 48 assists.

NCAA Tourney Preview

By winning the tournament, UW-Stevens Point received an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III National Tournament.

While the Pointers received the automatic bid, the ’Hawks garnered an at-large bid.

The ’Hawks have made 22 consecutive appearances in the national tournament and have appeared in 24 since 1980.

Nobilio said consistency is an area the team can improve upon before the tournament begins.

“We have to stay consistent,” Nobilio said. “When we play good, we play really good.”

Ariel Johnston

Senior teammate Ariel Johnston was asked what would be the key for the ’Hawks to be successful in the NCAA tournament.

“We need to have fun and not be so worried,” Johnston said. “We play so much better when we are having fun on the court.”

The ’Hawks face a familiar foe in the first round of the tournament, the Washington-University Saint Louis Bears.

The team faced the Bears earlier in the season in a game that was in honor of Lisa Panici.

The ’Hawks fell short to the Bears 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 24-26, 16-14) that night.

The Bears enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 26-7, while Boudreau’s team comes in at 27-11. The team travels to play the Bears at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in Elmhurst, Ill.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Royal Purple encourages readers to voice their opinions via the online comments section. Comments may be monitored for appropriateness and viewer safety. If a comment is harassing, threatening or inappropriate in nature, it may be taken down with editor's discretion.
All Royal Purple Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Founded 1901
Volleyball: ‘Hawks ready for NCAAs, rematch against Bears