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Falcons hit the road for tournament

September 28, 2006

This weekend the UW-River Falls women’s volleyball team travels to Iowa to participate in the Simpson Invitational in an attempt to bounce back from losses in the St. Benedict Invitational.

“We didn’t play to our potential in that tournament,” assistant coach Jane Gibbs said. “I think if we put it together we can have a great weekend.”

In the tournament, the Falcons will take on Simpson College and Buena Vista University for the second time this season.

The Falcons lost to Simpson 30-27, 30-23, 30-23, but beat Buena Vista 30-20, 30-17, 30-20.

Gibbs, who is in her first year as an assistant coach at River Falls said that this team has a lot of potential and that they’re a great bunch of girls.

This season there is a core group of returning players and a strong freshman class.
“The season has been going pretty well,” senior Andrea Geehan said. “We lost a few close matches. If it would have gone our way we would probably be in the top 20 ranking.”

The Falcons record currently sits at 8-8 and 1-2 in conference play.

“I think we’re a better team than our record shows,” Gibbs said. “The rest of our season can be completely different. What we have [coaching style] definitely works, but there are some small things we can change.”

Head coach Patti Ford is very optimistic of her teams ability, but knows her competition is tough.

“With six seniors on the team and many of them very experienced players,” Ford said. “We play an extremely competitive schedule.  And the WIAC is one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the nation.  Four of our team are currently ranked nationally.”

On Wednesday night the Falcons hosted the Eau Claire Blugolds in Karges. The Falcons took the first game of the match, with a score of 30-25.

Following that the visitors were too much to handle taking the final three games by scores 30-28, 30-26 and 30-18.

The Falcons traveled to UW-Stevens Point on Saturday and lost in four games: 30-22, 30-26, 24-30, and 30-23. The loss was the Falcons first suffered in conference play. River Falls had to play the tough conference play without top players Geehan and Lindsey Mace.

“Everyone had contributed greatly so far, and a few of them have stepped up to win starting roles,” Geehan said.

The Falcons picked up their first conference win on Sept. 20 against UW-Superior in Karges. The Falcons single-handedly defeated the Yellowjackets 30-19, 30-22, 30-11. Krista Russell had ten kills for the Falcons; while Kat Krnick had 36 assists, and Molly Thompson had ten digs and four aces.

On Sept. 5, against Bethel Geehan, a senior, recorded her 1,000th career kill in a Falcon uniform.

“Getting my 1,000th kill was very exciting, it meant a lot that I did it on our home court,” Geehan said. “The moment was amazing. It meant a lot to me when I was presented with the game ball from Coach Ford in front of my family and fans.”

Fellow senior, Kate Thompson is close to reaching the 1,000th kill mark as well. Geehan estimates that she is only about 50 away.

“We have had our ups and downs but we have shown quite a bit of potential for how well we are able to play,” junior Courtney Schroeder said. “We just have had problems with our consistency but I see it improving every game.”

The Falcons schedule is very difficult even when they are not playing games.

“The week starts of with weight training on Monday’s and Wednesday’s if we do not have a game,” Geehan said. “Otherwise we practice from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday and Wednesday and Thursday and Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00. [There are] games every weekend. We usually leave Friday morning and return home late Saturday night.  We get Sundays off.”

Following the tournament the team will return home on Oct. 6 against conference rival UW-Platteville at 7 p.m. They will also take on UW-LaCrosse the next day at 12 p.m.

Geehan believes that the Falcon squad have enough talent to make it all the way to the NCAA tournament this year.