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Volleyball nears WIAC tournament berth

October 24, 2013

Freshman setter Raven Klein sets the ball to senior middle hitter Jean Thies for a kill at the net in the Falcons' Breast Cancer Awareness match against UW-Stout on Oct. 23.
Freshman setter Raven Klein sets the ball to senior middle hitter Jean Thies for a kill at the net in the Falcons’ Breast Cancer Awareness match against UW-Stout on Oct. 23. (Desi Danforth/Student Voice)

The women’s volleyball team has some important matches to play as its season begins to wind down.

The team is currently sixth place in the WIAC with a 3-3 conference record. With only two conference games to go, placement in the conference standings is key. The top six teams participate in the conference tournament, with the winner receiving the conference’s at large bid to the national tournament.

“We’ve got some critical matches coming up,” said Head Coach Patti Ford. “We’ve got some tough conference matches coming up that will determine if we get in the conference tournament and where our seed is.”

Ford also mentioned the parity in the WIAC this season. No team is undefeated, and every team has won at least one conference match. The Falcons two remaining conference games will be at UW-Platteville and UW-La Crosse.

If the Falcons extend their season into the conference tournament, the team will finish the season the way it started, by playing on the road.

“In order to be successful teams have to be able to win on the road. This group has been able to win on the road, so I think it’s an important piece to that puzzle,” Ford said.

The team played 14 consecutive road games to open the season and it compiled a 10-4 overall record during that time, plus a 1-0 record in the WIAC. The Falcons only played four of their 31 regular season matches at home.

“I think it is to our advantage,” Ford said. “I think they’ve done a great job of getting of the bus and focusing on what their matches look like.”

The team’s final home game of the season was on Wednesday, Oct. 23, against UW-Stout. The game was the also the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness Match.

This is the sixth consecutive season where all of the volleyball teams in the WIAC have participated in this event. Senior Kayla Slaiku said that this is a game which the team looks forward to every year.

“We always look forward to the breast cancer night, Dig for the Cure,” Slaiku said. “It is one crazy night. We fill the gym with pink, decorate Karges lobby, and play our hearts out for everyone who supported. The atmosphere of that night is contagious.”

Every year the volleyball team sells T-shirts and holds a silent auction as a part of the event. Ford said that last year the UWRF team raised about $4,500, and should surpass that number this year. In the last five years, all of the teams in the WIAC have raised a total $113,037 in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, according to the WIAC website.

“Everyone does it slightly different, but everyone does it big, now. We raised $12,000 in the conference last year,” Ford said. “The unique thing about this that our players really get behind this. It’s their thing to do. They create the T-shirts and get the donations so it’s kind of what they do to give back.”

The game also played very strongly into the team’s standings in the WIAC. Following the win, if the Falcons defeat Platteville, they will secure a place in the WIAC tournament.

The Falcons will play Platteville on Friday, Oct. 25, and La Crosse the next day.