Three cheers for four years

“I still remember coming in day one as a freshman,” senior Sofia Sanchez said. “Now, looking back, where did the time go?”

Sanchez, along with Alyssa Bauer and Kelli Trautmann, make up a trio of seniors on the volleyball team this season. Together they are the starting backcourt and have played together at UW-Whitewater all four years.

Seniors (left to right): Kelli Trautmann, Sophia Sanchez and Alyssa Bauer have played major roles in this years volleyball team. The three seniors are friends on and off the court. Photo by Andrew Smith

In 2007, the volleyball team had finished as the runner up in the NCAA Division-III Championship.In 2008, only one starter from last year’s team returned.

“Our situation was unique because without those upperclassmen we saw a lot of playing time” Bauer said. “I think we were lucky because that meant we were responsible for rebuilding the program and helping it get to where it is today.”

After the three started in 2008, the team has made it to three-straight NCAA Division-III Regionals. The Warhawks are currently (15-5, 3-1) and are working for another NCAA Tournament bid.

These seniors have also left their mark on the program’s record book. All three are on the career digs list with Bauer (1,955) third, Trautmann (616) 33rd, and Sanchez (428) 46th.

As of 2010, Sanchez is 21st on the career kills list with 848. She recorded a personal best 401 kills last season, which is 25th most all-time and has had games with double-digit kills 44 times in her career.

After last season, Bauer is third in career digs with 1,955 and set a season-high of 651 in 2010, which was fifth best all-time. In her career, she has had over 100 matches with double-digit digs. In 39 of those matches she had 20 or more.

In 2010, Sanchez received All-WIAC honors. Bauer received All-WIAC honors from 2008-10 and was an All-Region selection in 2008.

But it has not all been post-season awards and tournament bids, the three seniors have had their share of hard times.

“As seniors we have experienced plenty of low points in our careers,” Trautmann said. “But those lows have made us stronger because now when we get down, we know what it takes to strive past them.”

“I could never do one of our workouts by myself and I think this spring season was the most challenged I’ve ever been,” Bauer said. “A big reason we make it through the season and all the 6 a.m. workouts is because we have each other to lean on.”

The seniors have come to depend on each other both on and off the court. Most recently when the team visited a haunted house last week.

“I was terrified but it was a team building thing so I was down for it,” Sanchez said. “I held Alyssa and Kelli’s hands and got through it.”

Head Coach Stacy Boudreau appreciates the leadership and experience her seniors have given in their time with the team.

“They just try to set an example for the rest of the team,” Boudreau said. “It has been great having players on the floor who have been around for so long that have contributed so much.”

“I think they all have a high level of character and commitment to stick with the team for four years,” Bourdreau said. “They are committed to their teammates and I hope they have a great senior year.”

Reflecting on their careers, the seniors realize how much it has meant to them.

“We made huge strides as people and athletes in four years,” Bauer said. “We’ve invested so much in this team. It’s going to be hard to leave.”

“We experienced a lot of good and bad times,” Trautmann said. “Looking back it was a lot of fun to just work through it all together.”“I’ve had so much fun at Whitewater, especially playing with the other seniors,” Sanchez said. “It has been a great ride and I’ll be sad to see it end, but I’m glad I made two really good friends along the way.”