Volleyball ending regular season, diving toward post-season play
October 23, 2008
With less than two weeks left in the regular season the Falcon volleyball team is preparing for a possible run in the postseason. If they qualify, the team will likely travel to either UW-Eau Claire or UW-Oshkosh on Nov. 1 for the opening round of the WIAC Tournament.
The 2008 season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. The team has yet to win more than two matches in a row, but the longest losing streak of the season has been only three matches. According to Head Coach Patti Ford, the team has been setting short term goals.
“Right now we are focused on Stout. After that match we will worry our next opponent. We try to focus our energy on coming to play everyday and improving,” Ford said. “You can’t look too far ahead in our conference because the competition is as good as any you’ll see in the Midwest.”
The competition Ford alluded to includes defending conference champion and national runner up UW-Whitewater, preseason conference favorite UW-Oshkosh and current WIAC conference leader UW-Eau Claire. The Falcons were poised to knock the Blugolds out of first place on Oct. 8 at the Karges Center. They won the first two games 25-18 and 25-10. Eau Claire rallied to win the final three games of the match by a total of seven points, yet Ford said she was pleased with the effort of the team all year.
“We have shown we can play with anyone. Itís just about being a little more consistent. I think seven of our losses have gone to five games. If we can combine better defense with our serving and passing we should be fine.” Ford said.
Andria Vetsch, a junior right side hitter said that when the team does the little things well, good things seem to happen.
“Lately serving and passing have been pretty strong for our team. When we do those things, everything else falls into place,” she said.
The WIAC regular season championship is not obtainable this year for the Falcons, yet the players said there is a lot to play for as the season winds down.
“As a team we are working hard to play at a high level and improve each day. We just need to come out and play our game each and every match,” Vetsch said.
Junior outside hitter Kelsey Scheele agreed with Vetsch.
“Our main focus has just been to work hard and improve. We want to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the year,” she said.
Scheele leads the Falcons statistically in kills with 327, digs with 354 and service aces with 30. Junior Gina DeRosa is the team leader in blocks with 100 and also has 217 kills on the season. Alicia Cook is the leader in assists with 630 on the year, while Vetsch is near the team lead in blocks (90), kills (174) and has also registered 90 digs.
According to Ford, her 20th season as head coach has flown by. She said the coaching staff has energized the program and the players have made it easy to continue to work each day.
“It seemed like we just started and now here we are preparing for the end of the season. When that happens I guess it means things must have gone well. We are a work in progress but we are definitely moving in the right direction,” Ford said.
The Falcons will wrap up their regular season with Invitational tournaments at Elmhurst, Ill. Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 and in Whitewater Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.