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UWRF women’s volleyball heats up after 1-5 start to season

September 26, 2014

The UW-River Falls women’s volleyball team may have got off to a slow start to open the 2014 season, but they are now on a hot streak, winning four of its last six matches.

The Falcons (5-7) are not only winning matches, you might say that they are destroying the competition. Over the last six matches the Falcons have swept its opponents three times. Some fans are starting to notice the Falcons recent dominance.

“I was at the game against St. Kate’s and we were doing great,” said junior student Dalton Miller. “It was a lot of fun to watch. I’m excited to see more games.”

The Falcons are a very tight-knit group and the players work well together. Head coach Patricia Ford describes what she sees in this team.

“Chemistry is our number one strength,” Ford said. “I think that we are all focused on the same goal, and that’s to get better every day.”

Normally a team will look for leadership from its seniors, but this year the Falcons are forced to turn to the juniors for leadership because there are no seniors on the team.

“Our junior class is doing a really good job with leadership; I think we just blend really well as a team,” Ford said.

Ford went on to say that juniors Brianna Muetzel, Rebecca Gasper and Lexi Pingel have been great leaders so far.

With a lack of upperclassmen and only 16 players on the roster, some room has been left for underclassmen to step up and make an impact on the court this season. Ford mentioned Raven Klein, Katie Duff and Tayler Fertig as solid contributors as sophomores, as well as freshman Amara Meyer.

The team’s success is showing up in the statistics book as well. According to the WIAC official website, Rebecca Gasper is fourth in the conference in hitting percentage, while Lexi Pingel is third in digs and sixth in service aces. As a team, UWRF is first in the WIAC in giving up the fewest opponent assists.

It looks like it’s going to be a competitive season in the WIAC as UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Whitewater, UW-Stout, UW-Lacrosse and UW-Eau Claire all boast nonconference records over .500. UW-Oshkosh is leading the way with an undefeated season to this point, with Stevens Point not far behind with a 12-3 record. Ford knows the difficulties of playing in the WIAC and she is hoping to come out of the first weekend of conference play with at least one victory.

The team will open up WIAC play and look to build off of its recent success as they host Lacrosse at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, and UW-Platteville at noon on Saturday, Sept. 27, in the Karges Center.

The Falcons have 20 more matches until the conference tournament rolls around, and with the recent string of success the Falcons are planning to be flying high for the remainder of the season.