Volleyball Spikes again

Kyle Weaver, Senior Staff Writer

By Kyle Weaver

Sept. 24, 2016

The No. 14 UW-Whitewater volleyball team [12-3,1-0] continued to roll with four home victories this week, extending their winning streak to seven matches.

The ’Hawks swept No.20 UW-Oshkosh Titans 3-0 on Sept.21 in their first WIAC match of the season.

UW-W recorded a season best 11 service aces and held the Titans to a .124 hitting percentage.

Serves have been an emphasis in practice – and it paid off.

“We’ve been working on serving a lot during practice,” junior middle hitter Courtney Wagner said. “Making an effort to get the other team out of system fast helps us as defense get set up.”

Junior right side hitter Sydney Rackey led the team with 11 kills while Wagner added ten kills and four blocks.

Freshman Ashton Doll led the team with six blocks while sophomore defensive specialist Brittany Robinson notched a team high of 18 digs.

“We had a game plan and our players went out and executed,” head coach Stacey Boudreau said. “I’m happy to walk away from our first conference match with a 3-0 against a very good opponent.”

Boudreau emphasized the importance of getting the opening win in conference at home.

“As competitive as our conference is, it is important to win those games at home,” Boudreau said. “Because you know you’re going to have a lot of tough battles on the road.”

The team hosted and participated in the UW-Whitewater Invitational over the weekend with four other teams, Christopher Newport University (Virginia), Carroll University, Millikin (Illinois) University, and St. Norbert College.

The ’Hawks played No.13 Christopher Newport on Sept. 23, their second consecutive match against a nationally ranked opponent and came away with a 3-0 victory.

Freshman outside hitter Alexandra Bialo led the offense with ten kills.  Senior setter Staci Hasler recorded 29 assists, six kills and four digs.

Robinson led the team with 14 digs and senior outside hitter Lauren Pfeifer registered 11.

Wagner says the team enjoys playing games against ranked opponents and it gives the team motivation as they move forward.

“You get momentum when you come out and beat teams ranked ahead of us and in the top 25,” Wagner said. “We’re pushing other teams and ourselves to keep moving up the rankings and showing everyone that we’re here to stay.”

Boudreau was pleased with the team’s performance after playing their second ranked opponent in three days.

“It was a quick turnaround just being able to get one practice in,” Boudreau said. “We came out with a lot of focus and hunger and did what we needed to do.”

The Warhawks recorded a 3-0 win over St. Norbert College on Sept. 24.

The ’Hawks tallied 10 service aces and held the Green Knights to a minus -.024 hitting percentage.

On offense, Wagner tallied 11 kills while Hasler notched 26 assists and three service aces. Robinson recorded a team-best four service aces and Pfeifer registered eight kills.

UW-W finished the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Carroll College in their second match on Sept. 24.

The ’Hawks set a season high in hitting percentage with a mark of .395.

Wagner led the team with 12 kills while Pfeifer was close behind with 11. Wagner recorded a team-best: four blocks while Pfeifer finished with three blocks and seven digs. Sophomore setter Elizabeth Niestrom recorded a career-best with 21 assists in the match.

Robinson led the defense with 12 digs while senior defensive specialist Tessa Weber followed with eight.

Robinson and Wagner were named to the All-Tournament Team following the final match.

The Warhawks are pleased with their performance and demonstration of teamwork at this point in the season.

“I’m feeling good, our defense has been incredible and our sets have been really good,” Wagner said. “We’re all doing a great job of connecting and pushing each other to do better.”

UW-W will continue WIAC play against No.11 UW-Stevens Point at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 in Stevens Point.