Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Volleyball: Netters fall in first round


By Paul Bressler

The UW-Whitewater women’s volleyball season has come to an abrupt end after falling to Washington-University St. Louis in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Warhawks lost in straight sets to the Bears 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22) at the Regional event Thursday night in Elmhurst, Ill. The team’s 2013 campaign finishes with an overall record of 27-12. The ’Hawks have appeared in 22 consecutive NCAA Division III Championship Tournaments.

The ’Hawks held an edge in almost every statistic in the first set of the match. The Bears’ consistency coupled with unforced errors by the ’Hawks gave the Bears the upper hand in the end of a hard fought first set.

Unforced errors became a theme for the ’Hawks as they continued to struggle with them through the next two sets. It would ultimately cost the team, as a mere seven points separated the two teams in the three set match.

Ben Staupe

“They’re very well coached,” Associate head coach Ben Staupe said. “They have an extremely efficient offense and are a great serving team. We put ourselves in a situation to not only be competitive but also win.”

Junior middle blocker Kristen Ruchti led the team both offensively and defensively. Ruchti had a team high 12 kills and four blocks while hitting .476 at the net. She finished the season with 294 kills with a .308 attacking percentage.

Sophomore right side hitter Brittney Langley added 11 kills of her own on .500 hitting.

Junior setter Kim Frei led the team with two aces while also dishing out 32 assists. Junior libero Kelsey Nobilio achieved double digit digs for the 26th consecutive match.

Nobilio accomplished this feat 34 times on the season, and finished the match with 18 digs. She finished the season with 642 digs.

“The team persevered through a lot of adversity and they never stopped fighting,” Staupe said. “It was more about the journey than the ending for us. We lost by seven points in three sets to the No. 11-ranked team in the nation.”

The American Volleyball Coaches Association named five ’Hawks to the All-Midwest Region Team earlier in the week. Junior middle blockers Alivia Holman and Ariel joined Frei on the All-Region Team while freshman outside hitter Lauren Pfeifer and Nobilio received honorable mention recognition.

Lauren Pfeifer

Pfeifer’s collegiate career started off strong with her earning Midwest Freshman of the Year honors from the AVCA.

“I feel like next season we are going to be strong,” Pfeifer said. “We’ll have Leanna [Lillge] back which will give us that extra ounce of experience.”

The ’Hawks made their 27th tournament appearance in program history. The NCAA committee selected the ’Hawks as one of the 21 at-large berths into the tournament. The regional was hosted by Elmhurst College for the second consecutive season.

The first round matchup with the Bears was a rematch from earlier this season when the ’Hawks lost 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 24-26, 16-14) in the UW-Whitewater Invitational Oct. 11.
Pfeifer is encouraged about how things went this season and is already gearing up for next season.

“We played hard,” Pfeifer said. “We didn’t hand anything to anyone. I wish we were still playing, but it was a good learning experience that will make us better next season. I have already begun training for next season.”

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Founded 1901
Volleyball: Netters fall in first round