Falcon volleyball falls twice in WIAC final four
November 9, 2006
After a rough start to the beginning of the season, the UW-River Falls women’s volleyball team pulled it together midseason and turned it around, only losing a few more matches before the playoffs.
Four of the matches the Falcons lost were to teams ranked in the top ten in the country in collegiate women’s volleyball.
While it’s not really 100 percent clear what made the change in the Falcon volleyball program, there are two things that are certain to have helped make the change.
Senior Andrea Geehan said that at that point, the team started jelling and really having fun on the court.
On Nov. 3, the Falcons played UW-Eau Claire in the final four of the WIAC playoffs. The Falcons started off the match on top, but were unable to keep pace with Eau Claire, losing the match and sending them to the fourth place game.
“Whenever you get to the top four it’s always a battle. Eau Claire was a very, very good team,” head coach Patti Ford said. “They responded with aggressive defense and aggressive hitting. We’re a good team. We just didn’t have the endurance.”
The Falcons took on UW-Platteville in the fourth place game and didn’t manage to come out on top, but they still took positives out of getting that far into the season.
“We played a strong match,” Ford said. “It was a fan-friendly atmosphere and we played well on both sides of the ball. It was a good match to end the season on.”
Making it to the final four and losing was not the way the Falcons really wanted to end their season, but the experience in the final four was a good one.
“It was awesome. I wish we could have got past the final four,” Geehan said. “I always knew we were good enough to get there. It became more clear half way through the season that we were going to get there and we did.”
Competition in the final four couldn’t be taken lightly by any of the teams involved.
“When it comes down to the final four you are playing the best teams in your conference and the team that wants it the most and is willing to do anything to win,” Geehan said. “I think we wanted it, but not as bad as the other teams. After the first game Friday night I thought the match was ours, but it did not turn out that way. Saturday went back and forth and that’s the way it should be when two good teams are playing. But we came up short in the end.”
Geehan is one of six seniors who suited up for the last time in a Falcon uniform on Saturday.
“It’s always tough when you graduate a core group of players,” Ford said. “But we have a core group of players, a great group of eager underclassmen. It will be different, but that’s the nature of sports. That’s what makes it entertaining.”
The graduating seniors will take fond memories of Falcon volleyball with them following their graduation and will miss the times suited up in red and black.
“I am going to miss the long bus rides, fans, hotel stays and not playing with one of my best friends after eight long years.” Geehan said. “It’s been a long journey but all things have to come to an end, [like] playing on any team, learn great life experience and build great friendships.”
Although the Falcons finished fourth in the WIAC playoffs, that doesn’t mean their season ended without any accolades. Four seniors were named to the All-WIAC Volleyball team.
Geehan, along with teammates Kat Krtnick, Lindsey Mace and Kate Thompson were all bestowed with that special honor.
This was the second straight season that Geehan and Krtnick were named to the team.
Krtnick was also named the 2006 WIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The Falcons overall record to end the season was 24-13. The WIAC record was 4-4.
Ford said this year she, along with the team, learned a lot and that will help her out next year.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, and one day at a time,” Ford said. “Just like I’ve done for the last 15 years here.”