Women’s Volleyball Hosts Dig Panici Classic

Dylan Piccolo, Staff Reporter

The UW-Whitewater women’s volleyball team reverted to its winning ways during the UW-Whitewater Dig Panici Classic on Oct. 5-6.

The Dig Panici Classic is an annual tournament the Warhawks host to honor the late Lisa Panici, a former Warhawk volleyball player who battled with cancer and passed in December of 2012.

The 23rd ranked Warhawks had an opportunity to play some of Division III’s best at the tournament, starting off Oct. 5 with the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) who received two votes in the AVCA Coaches poll.

The Warhawks fell in the first set against St. Thomas, but the team proved resilient, winning the final three sets.

All of the games were close with scores of 22-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-24, but it was Whitewater’s ability to put pressure on the outside that brought the team over the top. Junior outside hitter Rachel Butterfield equaled her season high in kills with 14 while freshman setter KellyAnn Sotiros placed ball right where it needed to be in order to put the St. Thomas defenders on their heels.

The girls had a bit of a time to regain their breath on Friday before they jumped back into action against Luther College (Iowa) at 7 p.m.

The Warhawks got right back to business defeating Luther in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19 and 25-17. This time it was freshman outside hitter Erin McNeil who led the team in kills with 13 and junior middle hitter Ashton Doll with an efficient .545 hitting percentage.

The final match of the Dig Panici Classic for the Warhawks was a Top 25 matchup against No. 10 Gustavus Adolphus College on Oct. 6.

The Warhawks came out flat in sets one and two, losing by scores of 25-21 and 25-16. The momentum was clearly not on the Warhawks’ side to start, but once set three began the tide turned.

“It all changed during the intermission,” senior libero Brittany Robinson said. “We talked about when we’re in our system not many teams can stop us. We had to put ourselves in that mindset, because we weren’t playing our game.”

Whitewater took that mentality in the third and fourth sets. Completing crisp passes and thunderous kills, the Warhawks won 25-14 and 25-22 respectively. In the fifth and final set the Warhawks fell behind 8-1 and failed to come back, losing 15-10.