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Volleyball team hopes to halt seven-match losing streak

October 24, 2014

After a fast start to the 2014 season, the UW-River Falls women’s volleyball team seems to be in a rut as they have lost its last seven matches.

There is more to the 9-14 record than one may think. The Falcons boast a 3-2 conference record, which puts the team in 5th place in the tough WIAC.

Head Coach Patti Ford says that both the conference and non-conference games are important, but in the end, the seeding for the conference tournament is based off of the conference records.

The Falcons have been struggling recently but Ford does not seem extremely concerned.

“We’re playing some really good teams right now,” Ford said. “So, we’re playing teams that are in the top twenty-five.”

UW-Stevens Point and UWWhitewater are two members of the WIAC that are currently in the top 25 nationally in Div. III.

The Falcons are a young team and Ford said that some of its recent struggles might be because of inexperience. During its sevenmatch losing streak, the Falcons have won at least one set in all but two of its matches.

Ford said that the Falcons are momentarily holding off some of the top teams in the WIAC, but the team loses some stamina at the end of games and the Falcons are losing a lot of close matches.

“We just have to sustain the match longer,” Ford said.

The Falcons are hoping to better its WIAC record for a chance at a regular season title as it has three more WIAC matches this season before the conference tournament starts.

The games will be played against UW-Eau Claire, UW-Superior and UW-Stevens Point. Two of the three remaining WIAC games are at home and Ford sees that as an advantage. The fans are very close to the court during volleyball games and playing a game at your home court could be the difference between winning and losing.

“The home court advantage is very powerful,” Ford said.

The WIAC tournament is coming up in a few weeks and the top six teams in the WIAC make it into the tournament. As of now, the Falcons would be the fifth seed in the tournament. The Falcons could easily move up in the conference standing as well as down. The Falcons recently hosted a tournament that included UW-Stout and Bethel University.

The tournament was originally scheduled for two days, but after five teams dropped out the tournament it was rescheduled as a oneday event. According to UWRF Sports Information Director Jim Thies, the teams dropped out because the recent campus security threat.

The Falcons lost both of its matches during the tournament, but they received valuable playing experience as it nears the home stretch of the season.

The Falcons have seven more matches this season (excluding the WIAC tournament) and the team has expectations that may be difficult to measure on the court.

The team says that its goal for the rest of the season is to continue to improve on the court each day in practice. If the Falcons can string a few victories together and bring its confidence back up the it may become a team that should not be overlooked in the upcoming WIAC tournament.