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Falcons volleyball experiences tough start to conference season

September 24, 2009

The UW-River Falls volleyball team started the season on a difficult note, opening at home against a top-five ranked team, UW-Oshkosh, at the Karges Center Sept. 18th.

The Falcons lost all three sets; however, they finished all three of the sets within six points of the Titans.

“We played really well,” Falcons Head Coach Patti Ford said. “[Oshkosh] is third in the nation and picked to win the conference.”

The Titans were ranked third in the nation by the Division III volleyball coaches’ poll.

The Falcons and the Titans experienced a close back-and-forth battle in the first set. After being down most of the set, the Falcons tied the score at 23-23. The two teams exchanged leads for the remainder of the set before the Titans won the set at 30-28.

The Titans won the second game 25-19, the biggest final score out of the three sets played on Friday.

The third set, like the first, included many lead changes between the two teams. The set score was tied at 24-24 before Oshkosh won the last two points to finish the match 26-24.

The crowd of roughly 200 fans stuck around for the entire game to witness the back and forth points between the two teams.

Senior Kelsey Scheele led the Falcons with 12 kills overall; the team had a total of 36 kills compared to the Titans 27. Freshman Danielle Gibbemeyer and senior Gina DeRosa also had eight kills each.

Kills in volleyball are returns that directly result in points.

Both teams finished with four aces and nine blocks. Sofia Sanchez lead the Titans with 12 kills.

With the win, Oshkosh improved their season record to 13-0, while the Falcons dropped their record to 2-9.

The Falcon volleyball team is relatively inexperienced, with few veteran seniors.

“We have a very young team, with quite a few freshmen,” Ford said. “Andria [Vetsch], Kelsey [Scheele] and Gina [DeRosa] are our [only] three seniors.”

With all of the young players on the team, the future is “extremely bright,” Ford said.

The Falcons look to do much of the same they did in this game the rest of the season.

“Our goals are to compete as hard as we can in every match,” Ford said. “That will convert to wins.”

The Falcons continued their conference play against UW-Whitewater Sept. 19, a team ranked ninth in the nation. The Falcons upset the Warhawks in four sets.