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Volleyball aims to finish season strong

October 24, 2007

When one thinks of Falcon volleyball, the word success comes to mind. They have brought home to UW-River Falls the WIAC Championship four times; in 1996, 1999, and consecutively in 2002 and 2003. Last year alone, they had four players named to All-WIAC teams, with Andrea Geehan, Kat Krtnick and Kate Thompson being selected to the first team All-WIAC and Lindsey Mace earning a spot on the WIAC All-Defensive Team.

It is with the loss of these excellent key players that the Falcon volleyball team finds itself 6-24 overall and struggling to develop the young talent that fills their roster. Head Coach Patti Ford has been there over the years of success, and sees the great potential in her young squad.

“We’re very youthful this year,” Ford said. “With the loss of six seniors last year we are looking at a true rebuilding season.”

The Falcons’ youthfulness showed this past weekend as they had a 0-4 showing at the Simpson College Tournament, falling to Loras, Wartburg, Simpson and Principia. This was just another bump in the road following losses to Eau Claire and Stevens Point in the two previous weekends.

Despite the Falcons’ record, the rebuilding has been taking place this year. With many close losses and final scores that told a different story than that which was on the court, Coach Ford has found high points to build off of.

“We’ve encountered a few tough situations,” Ford said. “It’s going to take some time, but our team is packed with very good athletes, and if these girls continue to work hard and develop, we’ll be able to compete at the highest level.”

Leading the Falcons on the volleyball court are sophomore Kelsey Scheele, senior Krista Russell, senior Courtney Schroeder and sophomore Gina DeRosa, all of whom are proving themselves to be key returners as well as leaders for the new faces.

“It’s hard to replace the key players we lost, but they way these girls are stepping up will help the rebuilding process and help develop the rest of the players in general,” Ford said. “We have had so much success here. With hard work, we will again be a conference championship type team and be contending at the national level.”

The Falcons have the Elmhurst tournament Oct. 27 and are set for a rematch against Concordia and continue on to play Elmhurst. Conference play-offs start Oct. 30